Not waiting for official results, Chamisa declares victory in Zimbabwe

World Today

ZIMBABWE-POLITICS-VOTE-CHAMISAMDC-Alliance leader and opposition presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa greets supporters as he arrives at a campaign rally in Chitungwizea, outside Harare on July 26, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI)

As Zimbabwe waits for the first official results of Monday’s presidential election, supporters of the main opposition candidate are already claiming victory.

CGTN’s Farai Mwakutuya reports from Harare.

The vote count is still trickling in. More than 24 hours after polls closed, results from just a handful of locations have been announced.

Slowing the process is the sheer number of people who turned out to cast their ballots for president and parliament.

“We have more than 10,000 polling stations transmitting election results for three different levels of elections,” according to Priscilla Chigumba, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. “Quite obviously, this poses a considerable challenge.”

The delayed outcome is also causing controversy, with the main opposition already claiming victory. Nelson Chamisa, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change party, is running against incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

There was a record 75 percent turnout in Monday’s vote, signifying just how much Zimbabweans have riding on it.

“It’s an indication that citizens are taking great interest in governance issues,” political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said “That in itself may push politicians to behave, especially in accepting the result of this election.”

“We have collected results, because results are posted outside polling stations consistent with Section 58 of the Electoral Act,” the MDC Alliance’s Tendai Biti said. “Those results show that we have won. That is not a complaint. That is fact.”

Delays in announcing results could heighten tensions and spark unrest. This is the first presidential election since former longtime leader Robert Mugabe was removed from power last year.


Supporters of Zimbabwean opposition leader of the MDC Alliance party make the party’s palm gesture as they gather at the MDC Alliance headquarters in Harare, on July 31, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI)

“Zimbabwe needs to legitimize this government, and it needs this particular election in order to have a legitimate government,” Professor Cheryl Hendricks of the Africa Institute for Southern Africa explained. “For that to happen, the elections have to be seen by all to be credible free and fair. So it is important that as the election results come out we maintain its integrity and its credibility.”

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says only it has the authority to announce a result, and will do so within the next few days.

A 51 percent majority is required to win the presidential election. If no candidate achieves this, a second round of voting will take place on September 8th.