Tensions Mount as Zimbabwe’s Ruling Party Declared Winner of Parliamentary Election

Tensions Mount as Zimbabwe’s Ruling Party Declared Winner of Parliamentary Election

On Wednesday, not long after Zimbabwe's electoral commission announced that the ruling party was on course for a landslide win in parliamentary elections, opposition protesters marched to the commission's headquarters in the capital, Harare.

Commission results showed Mnangagwa's ruling ZANU-PF cruising to a big majority after picking up 109 seats against 41 for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Mugabe, 94, whose authoritarian regime held power through violent, fraud-riddled elections, voted in Harare alongside his wife Grace after a surprise press conference at his home on Sunday at which he called for voters to reject ZANU-PF, his former party.

"We collated the results from our agents at all polling stations and what they reflected is nothing else except victory for MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa, and we demand that they make those V11 forms public". Waiting patiently for official results as per the constitution, ' Mnangagwa, 75, Mugabe's former right-hand man, said on Twitter.

MDC Alliance's Tendai Biti said there was a clear attempt by Zanu-PF to interfere "with the people's will".

Several hundred MDC supporters crowded around the party's headquarters Wednesday and started marching toward the electoral commission after Mr. Chamisa declared himself the victor.

The MDC members say "they have stolen our election".

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Rioting erupted on Wednesday (Thursday NZ Time) in Zimbabwe's capital as opposition supporters clashed with police and army troops over delays in announcing results from the presidential election, the country's first since the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe.

Biti had earlier accused the electoral commission of deliberately delaying the publication of results to help Mnangagwa's ruling ZANU-PF party. "We won the popular vote & will defend it!"

Police patrol outside the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission offices as angry opposition supporters gather, in Harare, Zimbabwe on August 1. And authorities welcomed it as such, as well, inviting worldwide election monitors to observe the elections for the first time in about 16 years.

If no candidate wins more than half the votes in the presidential election, there will be a runoff in five weeks.

Chamisa claimed in a tweet on Wednesday morning that the ZEC "seeks to release results to buy time & reverse the people's presidential election victory".

The vote count in polling stations was reasonably well organised, though procedures were not always followed, inconsistencies were noted and there was inadequate light in some places.

Mr Mnangagwa faces an unemployment crisis following the collapse of agriculture, hyperinflation and an exodus of investment.

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