No rigging in first election since end of Mugabe rule, official says

No rigging in first election since end of Mugabe rule, official says

- in News, World News
Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe casts his ballot in the general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 30, 2018. /REUTERS

imbabwe’s electoral commission said on Tuesday there was no rigging or cheating in the first national election since the end of Robert Mugabe’s nearly four decade rule.

ZEC chair Priscilla Chigumba told reporters in Harare that vote counting was complete in most provinces and the first results would be announced from 3 pm (1300).

As well as electing a president, Zimbabweans were voting for 210 members of parliament and more than 9,000 councillors.

Final results are due by August 4.

Earlier, Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader said on his official Twitter feed that his party had collected results from more than 10,000 polling stations, which showed the MDC had done exceedingly well.

He also said the results showed that the movement was ready to form the next government.

Nelson Chamisa, 40, and 75-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa were the main contenders in Monday’s election, the first since long-ruling Robert Mugabe was removed in a bloodless coup in November.

The winner faces the task of putting Zimbabwe back on track after 37 years under Mugabe, tainted by corruption, mismanagement and diplomatic isolation that caused a crisis in a country that once had one of Africa’s most promising economies.

Sources among election monitors said Monday’s vote appeared to have passed without major foul play, although they noted some coercion and intimidation of voters in rural areas by ZANU-PF and said state media was biased towards the ruling party.

Chamisa complained ahead of the vote about the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and said voters were being suppressed in urban areas where he is popular. ZANU-PF has denied any misconduct.

Whatever the outcome, there is still a potential for unrest. If the MDC loses and contests the result there could be street protests with a potential for violence, and a protracted legal process that could stunt economic reforms.

Should Mnangagwa lose, many Zimbabweans fear some in the ruling party may not accept the result, particularly given the huge risk they took in removing Mugabe.

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