A pedestrian walks by Emmerson Mnangagwa election posters in Harare on July 31. A pedestrian walks by Emmerson Mnangagwa election posters in Harare on July 31. Bloomberg

Zimbabwe Ruling Party Wins Parliament; Vote Fairness Doubted

Aug 01, 2018

Zimbabwe’s ruling party secured a landslide win in the first parliamentary election of the post-Robert Mugabe era as the opposition and advocacy groups questioned the credibility of the process.

With almost three-quarters of the legislative results tallied, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front won 110 of the 210 directly elected seats in the National Assembly, electoral commission officials said Wednesday. Nelson Chamisa’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance won 40. Another 60 seats will be allocated to women based on the proportion of the vote their party wins.

After a largely peaceful campaign and vote on Monday, the focus now shifts to the credibility of the process and whether the results are accepted, key pillars needed to rebuild the southern African nation after two decades of decline under Mugabe’s rule. The jury is still out on whether the contest was fair, with observers noting a number of flaws and the opposition alleging there’d been a deliberate attempt to frustrate and suppress urban voters.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the country’s largest group of non-governmental organizations, said the July 30 election “falls short of a credible process.” It cited concerns that the voters’ roll hadn’t been released prior to the poll, about a fifth of results from the presidential ballot weren’t published outside polling stations and that some voters had been “deliberately displaced.”

The MDC also questioned the pace of releasing tallies from the presidential vote. The ruling party’s margin of victory in legislative elections makes Mnangagwa, 75, the favorite in that race, which featured 22 candidates. The outcome will be announced once the counts from all provinces are received and verified, Priscilla Chigumba, the chairwoman of the electoral commission, told reporters. Final results must be released by Aug. 4.

The ZEC “seeks to release results to buy time and reverse the people’s presidential election victory,” Chamisa said on his Twitter account. “The strategy is meant to prepare Zimbabwe mentally to accept fake presidential results.”

All you need to know about Zimbabwe’s elections.

Chamisa, a lawyer and pastor who took control of the MDC after the death of its founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February, said on Tuesday that based on his party’s own count of unofficial results from more than 90 percent of the 10,985 polling stations, the MDC was “winning resoundingly” and ready to form the next government.

Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu accused individuals and parties of inciting violence by declaring themselves winners before the results were announced.

An observer group from the Southern African Development Community, a regional group, said in preliminary findings that the campaign and vote were generally peaceful and in line with the law, describing it as “a watershed” in the country’s history. Observers from the African Union found that the election was by and large well administered despite some logistical challenges, and the electoral commission was well prepared.

European Union and American observer groups are due to deliver their assessments of the vote later on Wednesday.

The ruling party forced Mugabe to resign in November, when the military briefly seized control of the country, and replaced him with Mnangagwa, his former deputy and spy chief. Whoever wins the vote will have to administer a broke Treasury that’s unable to service its loans or take out new ones, leaving little scope to improve government services, rebuild crumbling transport links and meet a plethora of other election pledges.

“The ability for the new government to kick-start the economy will in a large part depend on to what extent it can mobilize external support for whatever reform program they will embark on,” said Mark Bohlund, an Africa economist at Bloomberg Economics. “There is arguably a strong desire to help Zimbabwe pave its way out the economic disaster of the last decades, but also an understandable suspicion of the real intent of the political and economic elite to change their ways.”

 

Source: Bloomberg

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