As Zimbabweans awaited presidential election results, the ruling party declared victory Thursday as the opposition dismissed the vote as a “huge farce.” Vote counting was under way in the election that pitted incumbent President Robert Mugabe against Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for the third time. Mugabe, 89, has been at the helm since 1980, the only president the nation has known since it gained independence from Britain. A win would extend his time in office to 38 years. Even though the nation’s electoral commission has not released any numbers, a ruling party official claimed victory.
“There is no doubt whatsoever that we have seen results everywhere in the country so far that ZANU-PF has won,” said Didymus Mutasa, a party secretary.
Tsvangirai’s party called the vote “null and void,” alleging widespread fraud. “This has been a huge farce,” Tsvangirai, 61, said at a news conference in the capital, Harare. “The credibility has been marred by administrative and legal violations which affect the legitimacy of its outcome.”
He said irregularities included voter intimidation, unauthorized voter migration and lack of transparency in printing ballot boxes.