Elections in Zimbabwe: tensions rise amid fears of electoral fraud | World News

Tensions are rising in Zimbabwe as opposition fears increase that the electoral count is manipulated, monitors warn of possible violence if the results are challenged and the authorities prepare protests.

Millions of people voted peacefully on Monday in the first elections since the army removed Robert Mugabe from power last year. Long queues of voters formed outside polling stations and participation were registered at 75%.

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa said on Tuesday he was "winning outright," a statement repeated by senior officials throughout the day. . His supporters gathered at the headquarters of his party in the capital during the afternoon, celebrating the victory despite the lack of official results.

Supporters danced to the music of the loudspeakers mounted on a truck in the street in front of the offices of the Movement for Democratic Change, which said it carried out its own recount.

Samson Muneptsi, 35, MDC technical and volunteer pollster, said: "We won easily and totally, we are waiting for the announcement.

" We will never accept to lose this election. We will protect our votes We will protest. "

The elections confronted Chamisa, 40, a lawyer and pastor whose only previous experience in power was a period as minister in a coalition government several years ago, against Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, a former assistant of Mugabe and head of the Zanu-PF ruling party

Chamisa said in a tweet at 5 a.m. that the MDC had "done very well", according to the results of the Most of the polling stations There was no confirmation of their claim.

The Zimbabwe electoral commission started announcing the results during the afternoon, but only of seven parliamentary constituencies, Six were won by the ruling party, one by the MDC

Voters also elected legislators and local representatives.The final result in the presidential election must be presented before August 4, but it is expected before.

Andrew Makoni of the The Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN), a coalition of civil society groups that deployed 6,500 election observers, said: "The fear is that people will be upset to the point of taking to the streets, and then there is the concern of what will be the response of the security forces in the country. "

Officials are legally required to publish the results of each of the 10,985 polling stations. Several civil society groups are gathering these, although they are not allowed to publish the results before the official account is known.

  People look at the results placed outside of an electoral college in Harare

People look at the results placed outside of an electoral college in Harare. Photography: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi / AP

Makoni said that the ZESN was working to confirm the reports of the activists in the field that up to one fifth of the polling stations had not published the results. This would mean that up to 1 million votes can not be verified independently.

Mnangagwa tweeted on Tuesday morning that he was "delighted with the high participation and citizen participation so far", adding: "The information of our representatives in the field is extremely positive." [19659003] Supporters said the president had won "an overwhelming victory."

"The MDC are extremely bad losers," said Bright Matonga, a businessman and former minister of the ruling party. "They can protest, but they will have to follow the law." It has to be peaceful. I trust that the law enforcement agencies will keep them under control. "

The two presidential candidates represent radically different ideologies and political styles, as well as generations, and the pre-election opinion polls gave Mnangagwa a hard former spy chief known as "The Crocodile" for his reputation as a ruthless sly, a slim advantage over Chamisa, a brilliant but sometimes mischievous speaker.

Historically, support for Zanu-PF deeper in rural areas, particularly in the heart of the Mashonaland party, where more than two-thirds of Zimbabwe's 17 million people live.

Chamisa's claims of imminent victory are consistent with a strategy for several weeks that he has tried to put Zanu-PF on the defensive and make electoral fraud more difficult.

If no candidate wins more than half of the votes, there will be to a second round in five weeks. In 2008, dozens of people died before a second round between Mugabe and MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai, who died of cancer in February.

Another possibility is the negotiations to form a coalition government.

Although the campaign has been free of the systematic violence that marred previous polls, the MDC has repeatedly claimed that it has been hampered by faulty voter registration, electoral neglect, voter intimidation and handouts to party voters ruler.

  Former Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, gives his vote in Harare

Former Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, presents his vote in Harare. Photography: Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

The party has repeatedly accused the electoral commission of bias and many of its accusations have been backed by independent analysts and experts.

The rulers of Zimbabwe know that a fraudulent election would block the country's reintegration into the international community and deny it the huge rescue package needed to avoid economic collapse.

Almost four decades of Mugabe's rule have left Zimbabwe with a shattered economy, growing unemployment and dilapidated infrastructure.

For the first time since Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980 after a brutal guerrilla war against a white supremacist regime, Mugabe was not on the ballot. On Sunday, the former president said he would not vote for his former party, Zanu-PF, or the current president, and supported Chamisa.

David Moore of the University of Johannesburg said he doubted that there would be significant violence when the official result is announced.

"There is some truth in the cliché that Zimbabweans are a peace-loving people, polls have shown a desire for a coalition or some kind of agreement that would help the economy, I do not think there is any appetite for a battle in the streets, "said Moore.


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