The first official results from Zimbabwe’s election and unofficial tallies indicated Thursday that President Robert Mugabe’s party was headed for a landslide win. But Mugabe’s main rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, rejected Wednesday’s poll as a sham and warned that the country was headed for a crisis. A number of observers and civil society groups said Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party made huge gains in areas that were strongholds for Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, including Matebeleland South, Manicaland and Masvingo. The party had an overwhelming lead in early parliamentary results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. ZANU-PF made no official victory claim over Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change, withdrawing what it described as an unauthorized tweet from the party account that had claimed a resounding win. But a senior ZANU-PF figure told Reuters news agency that his party had crushed the opposition.
“We’ve taken this election. We’ve buried the MDC. We never had any doubt that we were going to win,” the anonymous official was quoted as saying. (In Zimbabwe it is illegal to announce unofficial results or claim victory before the official announcement by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.)
Tsvangirai, who has served as prime minister since the formation of an uneasy government of national unity after a disputed 2008 election, declared Wednesday’s vote “null and void” and “a huge farce.”
“The shoddy manner in which it has been conducted and the consequent illegitimacy of the result will plunge this country into a serious crisis,” Tsvangirai said at a news conference in Harare.
The independent Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network, which deployed 7,000 observers around the country, more than any other observer group, said in a statement that the election was “seriously compromised by a systematic effort to disenfranchise an estimated million voters.”
The group said the names of more than 750,000 voters in Tsvangirai’s urban strongholds were missing from the voters roll.
Full Article: Crisis looms in Zimbabwe over election results – latimes.com.