2 August 2013

Zimbabwe: Mugabe, Zanu-PF Head for Landslide

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF last night appeared to be heading for a shock landslide victory in Wednesday's general elections, while outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his party seemed destined for a crushing defeat.

From official results announced last night, Zanu PF was surging ahead with 52 seats to the MDC-T's 10. Expelled Zanu PF candidate Munyaradzi Kereke won in Bikita West. The MDC led by Welshman Ncube lost completely.

However, the voting patterns and results trends showed Zanu PF would sweep through its Mashonaland Central stronghold with 18 seats and seize at least 22 out of 23 seats in Mashonaland East and get 21 out of 22 Mashonaland West provinces.

In Mashonaland West, Zanu PF lost only the Chinhoyi seat where Phillip Chiyangwa was defeated by Peter Mataruse of MDC-T. In Mashonaland East, it appeared Zanu PF got all the seats except one.

Zanu PF also won all the seats in Masvingo except for the one taken by Kereke.

At the time of going to press, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) deputy chairperson Joyce Kazembe had announced the results of 18 constituencies in Masvingo, all won by Zanu PF. Kazembe had released results for 11 constituencies in Mashonaland West and 10 of them had gone to Zanu PF, except Chinhoyi.

Zanu PF seemed likely to win the majority of seats in Manicaland, Midlands, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces. Trends showed the party had won 23 out of 26 seats in Manicaland, seven out of 13 in Matabeleland North and 10 out of 13 in Matabeleland South. In the Midlands, Zanu PF got 23 out of 28 although it could increase the margin in the bloodbath.

In Harare, Zanu PF appeared to have won seven of the 29 seats, after winning only one in the 2008 elections. MDC-T won all seats in Bulawayo, meaning it will only control the Bulawayo and Harare provincial councils, with the rest being controlled by Zanu PF.

Zec will announce more results this morning. The parliamentary poll outcomes mirror the voting pattern in the critical presidential election where Mugabe looks set to make a dramatic comeback through a landslide victory under which Tsvangirai would be buried.

Although Zec is yet to announce all results, MDC-T officials were mourning after their tabulations showed they had performed dismally. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said he would not accept the results because the elections had been rigged and were therefore "null and avoid".

"Our conclusion is that this has been a huge farce. The credibility of this election has been marred by administrative and legal violations which affected the legitimacy of its outcome. It's a sham election that does not reflect the will of the people," he said.

But despite the allegations of poll rigging by the MDC-T, the Sadc Electoral Commissions Forum, African Union (AU), Zimbabwe Council of Churches and Comesa observer missions have already endorsed the elections as free and fair. Sadc and the AU have given similar signals.

Preliminary indications last night showed that several MDC-T heavyweights had fallen by the wayside, among them national chairperson Lovemore Moyo, national spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora, Women Assembly chairperson Theresa Makone and the party's secretary for international relations Jameson Timba.

MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti and deputy secretary-general Tapuwa Mashakada scrapped through after trailing for long periods.

The elections were tainted by allegations of vote rigging as people were disenfranchised through a chaotic voter registration exercise, manipulation of a messy voters' roll and turning away of people at polling stations. There were also reports Israeli security firm Nikuv International Projects -- which has links to Israel's deadly state intelligence service Mossad -- reportedly assisted the Registrar General's Office to manipulate the voters' roll and, hence the results -- for US$13 million.

Thousands of people were turned away from polling stations after finding their names not on the roll, while others found their names in the voters' roll of wards they do not live in.

The results have left Tsvangirai in a quandary after his failure to dislodge Mugabe in three consecutive elections. Tsvangirai lost in 2002 and while he won the first round of the 2008 elections, although he pulled out of the June 28 presidential election run-off citing violence and intimidation against his supporters. Mugabe ran alone and claimed a disputed victory. Tsvangirai also lost parliamentary elections in 2000.

Ncube's MDC performed dismally and indications it had not won a single seat.

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