Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is dismissing the results of Wednesday’s presidential election, saying alleged irregularities have made the vote a “farce.”
“It is a sham election that does not reflect the will of the people,” Tsvangirai told reporters Thursday, repeating accusations of vote-rigging against President Robert Mugabe, who denies the charges and whose allies claim he won the vote.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, which had thousands of vote monitors throughout the country, also raised concerns about the election. Deputy chairperson Irene Peterson said Thursday the process was compromised, with a large number of people being blocked from casting ballots.
“Generally the environment was relatively calm and peaceful,” she said.”Based on the empirical reports from our observers, regardless of the outcome, the credibility of the 2013 harmonized elections is seriously compromised by a systematic effort to disenfranchise urban voters, up to a million voters.”
Mugabe allies said Thursday that the longtime president and his party won easy victories in the general elections.
Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission has yet to release any results, saying they are still counting the ballots. The commission defended the vote, calling it “free and fair.”
“I believe that the election is free and fair. Maybe the reports that will come out will vindicate my view of the election as free and fair,” Zimbabwe Election Commission chairwoman Rita Makarau told journalists.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai were the main contestants in Wednesday’s election, which ended a power sharing government the two formed in 2009 after a disputed election. Tsvangirai told journalists after casting his vote that he was confident of victory.
“It is a historic day for all of us as Zimbabweans to complete the delayed run-off from 2008. You see all the main contenders, finally resolving this political crisis, finally. So we wish everyone a time to complete the change that we have been fighting for, for the past 14 years,” he said.
This is Tsvangirai’s third attempt to defeat Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980. In the 2008 election, Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the first round, but failed to garner enough votes to avoid a run-off. The second round was marred by violence after Mugabe claimed victory, and African leaders forced the two to form a power sharing government in 2009.
When asked about allegations that the election commission rigged the polls for his Zanu PF party, Mugabe said “[It’s] politicking, they want to find a way out.”
The election commission has until Monday, August 5 to release the results of the Zimbabwe’s election, which will end the fragile power sharing arrangement of Mugabe and Tsvangirai. voa