(HARARE, Zimbabwe) – The Zimbabwean election took an uncomfortable turn on Tuesday when the opposition claimed that the results were not released out of a fifth of the polling stations as required by law, and the election commission said that the Impatient nation would have to wait longer for Know who will be your next president.
Meanwhile, the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa suggested that the main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, and his supporters were inciting "violence" by declaring he had won Monday's election, although it has only been announced.
"Let me also warn those people and groups that nobody is above the law," said Interior Minister Obert Mpofu. The security forces "will remain on high alert and will continue to monitor the security situation in the country."
Zimbabweans are desperately hoping that Monday's peaceful vote will lift them out of economic and political stagnation after decades of Robert Mugabe's rule, but the country is haunted by a history of electoral violence and manipulation that means trust is low, despite today's freest environment.
While the Electoral Commission of Zimbabwe has five days from the end of the vote to publish the final tally, the national mood is growing. The results were already swirling in social networks.
Dozens of opposition supporters even gathered at their headquarters in the capital, Harare, celebrating in the belief that they had won the presidential election based on the results they said agents had gathered on the ground. While dancing to the music of the loudspeakers installed in a truck, the police with water cannons circulated in the area.
There was no confrontation, but even the possibility that it was a disturbing reminder of the tensions that pervade the southern African nation, weakened by Mugabe's long rule. The former 94-year-old leader had been in power since the independence of the white minority government in 1980 until he was forced to resign in November after the military and the ZANU-PF ruling party turned against him.
Mnangagwa, a former vice president who quarreled with Mugabe and then took charge of him, has said that his performance in the presidential polls was "extremely positive" while urging people to wait for official results.
Chamisa, a lawyer and pastor who leads the opposition Movement for Democracy Change party, has gone further, saying that his own count shows he won the elections and that he is ready to form the next government.
The Chamisa party also said that the results were not published outside of 21 percent of the almost 11,000 polling stations in the country. raising concerns about possible electoral fraud. He suggested that there was a deliberate effort to delay the announcement of the results, which reflects a deep suspicion about the panel that presides over the elections.
Priscilla Chigumba, a judge who heads the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, said she was confident there were no "traps" in the first elections without Mugabe on the ballot. Each polling station must publish its results outdoors after the vote count, he said.
"We will not steal your choice of leaders, we will not subvert your will," Chigumba said.
"The atmosphere has remained peaceful" and the commission has not received any major complaints about the election, he said.
The commission said it would delay the publication of the results of the presidential race until all the votes are checked. If no presidential candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, a second round will be held on September 8.
More than 5.5 million people registered to vote in an election with a record number of more than 20 presidential candidates and nearly 130 political parties.
Western election observers were in Zimbabwe, a sign of a freer political environment since the resignation of Mugabe, who declared that he would not vote for the ruling party he controlled for a long time and called Chamisa the only viable candidate.
Meanwhile, a monitoring group, the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network, issued preliminary conclusions on the vote, noting improvements such as a biometric registration system that reduced the chances of fraud.
However, he noticed problems with the implementation, saying that the electoral commission assigned a point more registration kits to rural areas and less to urban areas. The ruling party has strong rural support, while the opposition is popular in the cities.
Elmar Brok, head of the European Union monitoring mission, said on Tuesday that his team noticed some "inconsistencies" but that there was generally "progress" compared "In African elections, there is often a lot at stake and nobody has a backup plan to lose, "said John Dramani Mahama, former Ghanaian president and head of the observer mission of the Commonwealth nations, mostly former British. colonies
The contenders in the Zimbabwean vote must accept the results and "should look at the broader picture of success, a successful choice for Zimbabwe," he said.
A voter in Harare said that Zimbabwe is eager to hear the election results as soon as possible.
"Because people are not yet established, they are thinking about too many things," said Chaka Nyuka, 65. "They need a good change, people are looking for that."