Opposition claims victory based on early results
Issued on: Modified:
Zimbabwe's opposition main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claimed victory based on early unofficial results. Observers reported cases of vote rigging in Saturday's poll. (Report: T.Adamson-Coumbousis)
"It's a historic moment for all of us. We have won this election, we have won this election," Tendai Biti, secretary general of the main opposition Movemement for Democratic Change (MDC), told reporters, diplomats and observers at a briefing.
The opposition, headed by former trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai, has accused 84-year-old Mugabe of employing election-rigging tactics in an attempt to stay in power and African observers say they detected fraud in Saturday's ballot.
"People are dying in hospitals and funeral expenses are very high. How do you expect us to survive? Shop shelves are empty," said mother-of-three Gertrude Muzanenhamo, 36, echoing the views of many voters interviewed by reporters.
Mugabe, who accuses the West of sabotaging
The former guerrilla leader, in power since independence from
Biti said the MDC's election agents had reported that early results posted at polling stations showed Tsvangirai was projected to win 66 percent of the vote in the capital
He said Tsvangirai had made significant inroads in Mugabe's rural strongholds by leading in the southern province of Masvingo and
Tsvangirai's winning trend had also extended to Mugabe's home
He said that in
But Makoni, whose decision to run was seen by many analysts as a sign of increasing unease in ZANU-PF ranks, was leading in
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said it would start to announce official results later on Sunday. Final results are not expected for several days from the presidential, parliamentary and local polls.
Observers from the Pan-African parliament said in a letter to the commission they had found more than 8,000 non-existent voters registered on empty land in a
Most international observers were banned and a team from the regional grouping, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), did not comment on Saturday. Critics say the SADC, which has tried to mediate over
The powerful heads of the security forces have backed Mugabe, and voters said they had seen patrolling police and army units with armoured vehicles and water cannon.
Some security chiefs say they will not accept a Tsvangirai victory but the opposition leader told reporters: "I am not seeking the security chiefs mandate but the people's mandate."
If no candidate wins more than 51 percent of the vote, the election will go into a second round.
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