Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Zimbabwe says election was clean, opposition skeptical

Published:Tuesday | July 31, 2018 | 3:48 PM
People look at results placed outside a polling station in Harare, Zimbabwe, Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe’s election took an uneasy turn Tuesday when the opposition alleged results were not posted outside one-fifth of polling stations as required by law, and the electoral commission said the impatient nation would have to wait longer to learn who will be its next president.

The government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, meanwhile, suggested the main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, and his supporters were inciting “violence” by declaring he had won Monday’s election even though only a few parliamentary returns have been announced.

“Let me also warn such individuals and groups that no one is above the law,” Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu said.

Security forces “will remain on high alert and continue to monitor the security situation in the country.”

Zimbabweans desperately hope 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 scarce, despite today’s freer environment.

While the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has five days from the end of voting to release the final tally, the national mood is growing anxious partly because unofficial results are already swirling on social media.

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 results they said they collected from agents in the field.

As they danced to music blasting from speakers set up on a truck, police with water cannon circulated in the area.

There was no confrontation, but even the possibility of it was an unnerving reminder of the tensions that pervade the southern African nation, debilitated by Mugabe’s long rule.

The 94-year-old former leader had been in power since independence from white minority rule in 1980 until he was forced to resign in November after the military and ruling ZANU-PF party turned on him.

We want to hear from you! Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-449-0169, email us at editors@gleanerjm.com or onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com.