Early Reports Show Opposition Leader MDC With Lead in Zimbabwe Election
Update 3:45PM Est -Information is coming in from bloggers and news sites that the leader of the opposition has claimed victory in the elections. Indeed, the site we linked to earlier shows the two at a dead heat. With calls of vote-rigging and the last couple of elections, if will be interesting to see what happens even if the Opposition party gains power.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Changes said vote counts it saw posted at more than half of the polling stations in the country showed Tsvangirai taking 60 percent of the vote over 30 percent for Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980.
The International Bar Association (IBA) today called upon Zimbabwe’s electoral authorities and accredited international observers to take all steps necessary to ensure that the will of the electorate is not thwarted.
"The catalogue of serious irregularities reported ahead of the March 29 elections suggests that yet again Zimbabwe will not have free and fair elections," said Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association.
Zimbabwe's rural areas, once viewed as strongholds of the ruling ZANU-PF party, are backing the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), according to intial results from the March 29 poll.
The sharp move away in support for President Robert Mugabe's ruling party, is resulting in a slew of senior government memebers losing their parliamentary seats in such provinces as Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West - Mugabe's home province - Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Masvingo and Midlands province.
In anticipation of violence likely to erupt on the streets as a result of the count, troops have started to be posted throughout the country.
Bloggers and other websites are reporting that Mugabe might have won, but that the elections could have been rigged.
While the whole world is waiting for the official announcement of election results in Zimbabwe, the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvagirai, is claiming victory. Amanda Atwood writes:
But the MDC isn’t waiting. Ballot papers were counted at polling stations, and many of these have finished. Based on these preliminary results, the MDC is claiming victory.
Bev Clark argues that it is time for open air celebrations:
by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Monday 31 March 2008
RESIDENTS view election results pasted at a polling station in Highfield suburb
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party claimed a commanding lead in a presidential election, quoting unofficial results showing party leader Morgan Tsvangirai with 60 percent against 30 percent garnered […]
Institute for War & Peace Reporting (London)
31 March 2008
Posted to the web 31 March 2008
In what can best be described as a shock result, President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party are about to announce victory for Mugabe in the parliamentary and presidential elections, according to unofficial results leaked from the ZANU-PF […]
Bloggers mixed wild rumors with gallows humor on Monday as Zimbabweans waited on tenterhooks for the result of the most crucial election since independence.
The opposition MDC and ruling ZANU-PF were running neck-and-neck in first parliamentary results issued by the electoral commission, 36 hours after polls closed.
Many bloggers shared opposition suspicions that the delay meant President Robert Mugabe was trying to rig the result to extend his 28 years in power.
Zimbabwe's electoral commission has started to release results of elections after a delay that has raised fears of vote-rigging and brought security forces onto the streets.
Ballot boxes are unloaded from a car while a police officer looks on at a polling station in Zvimba, about 120 kilometers west of Harare.
Even before the first results were announced, the major opposition party insisted it had won enough votes to end President Robert Mugabe's three-decade rule over Zimbabwe which is suffering from economic meltdown.
Zimbabwe's ZTV television network began broadcasting results about 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) Monday, one seat at a time. With 210 races to report, it appeared that announcement process would be slow.
In the first six races announced, President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU party was declared the winner in three, while the opposition Movement for Democratic Change won the other three.
The deputy chief elections officer, Utoile Silaigwana, then went off the air saying: "We'll be back with you when we have more results."