PRESIDENT Mugabe and Zanu-PF are headed for a landslide on the scale of the 1980 harmonised elections, amid reports the revolutionary party had made clean sweeps in six out of the country’s 10 provinces. In the remaining two provinces outside Harare and Bulawayo, Zanu-PF garnered more than 50 percent of the constituencies on offer.
Official results released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and information sent in by our news crews countrywide shows Zanu-PF making a clean sweep of Masvingo, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and near clean sweeps of Mashonaland West, Manicaland and the Midlands where it is reported to have fallen short of the “upon upon’’ exhorted by its First Secretary and President, Cde Mugabe by single constituencies apiece.
Though full official results were still to be confirmed, results released by ZEC from 62 constituencies showed that Zanu-PF (represented by green on the map) had claimed 52 seats, while MDC-T (red) had managed 10.
More results will be released today.
Information gleaned from candidates and polling centre returns showed Zanu-PF making serious inroads into Harare where it garnered over a third of the vote, bagging six constituencies, up from the solitary Harare South it had consistently defended since the advent of MDC-T at the turn of the millennium.
Several MDC-T heavyweights fell by the wayside, among them Jameson Timba, Theresa Makone, Elton Mangoma, Douglas Mwonzora, and Giles Mutsekwa.
Countless surveys ahead of the elections from organisations as diverse as the US think-tank Council on Foreign Relations, Freedom House, Afrobarometer and pollsters like the Mass Public Opinion institute, MDC-T allies among them the NCA, Concerned ZCTU Affiliates, Sokwanele, and Zimbabwe vigil and media organisations like the New York Times, the Guardian, the Independent and the leftwing magazine Counterpunch had all pointed to a Zanu-PF victory.
On the eve of polling, reports emerged that the US State department had gagged Freedom House from releasing its latest survey results that indicated a crushing victory for President Mugabe and Zanu-PF in harmonised elections.
The Freedom House survey gave President Mugabe a 10 percent lead over Mr Tsvangirai and predicted a two thirds majority for Zanu-PF in the National Assembly where the revolutionary party was tipped to garner at least 140 seats in the 210 seat assembly.
From our indications, the embargoed survey was spot on as far as the two-thirds majority but just fell short on the margin of the presidential vote amid indications President Mugabe is likely to prevail by more than 70 percent of the votes cast, which is throwback to the 1980 plebiscite to which the harmonised elections have been likened that had Zanu-PF garnering 57 out of the 80 black roll seats, while PF-Zapu garnered 20 with Bishop Abel Muzorewa’s UANC which managed three seats.
Zanu-PF’s stunning performance in the key swing provinces of Manicaland and Masvingo drove the numbers. Our crews indicate that Zanu-PF swept all 26 seats in Masvingo up from the 12 the party garnered in 2008, while in Manicaland which was reported to be riven by internecine fighting ahead of the elections, Zanu-PF rose from a paltry six seats in 2008 to 22 out of the 26 on offer.
Where Zanu-PF won, it won by huge margins, while the margins were narrow in constituencies that were taken by the MDC-T, a development that bodes well for the party’s presidential candidate Cde Robert Mugabe as well as the senators and female quota members to be picked through proportional representation.
Zanu-PF national spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo hailed the poll outcome saying the elections were conducted in a calm and peaceful environment, adding the results would be legitimate.
“The turnout was good and the results trickling in are what we have. Everything was peaceful, free, fair and credible. We are expecting a landslide victory with not less than 75 percent for His Excellency President Robert Mugabe.
“From what we are getting from the ground, especially in Harare, Manicaland and Masvingo, we are impressed. We are yet to verify on what happened in Matabeleland and Mashonaland Central,” he said.
He said the party was optimistic of victory in most constituencies previously run by the MDC-T formations.
Zimbabwe Development Party president Mr Kisinot Mukwashe said the election environment was free and fair despite his party’s deprival of election funding.
“The voter turnout was good and the results coming out are acceptable.”
However, the MDC-T leader Mr Tsvangirai cried foul over the outcome of the hamornised elections so far, describing the process a “huge farce”.
Mr Tsvangirai claimed the election did not meet Sadc guidelines governing the conduct of polls adding that it was a sham election which he said did not reflect the will of the people.
“Thousands failed to register and were disenfranchised, voters roll not delivered timeously as required by law, no proper inspection of voters’ roll to verify authenticity, duplication of names on the voters’ roll and unauthorised movement of voters from their wards leading to almost 40 percent voters being turned away and disenfranchised.
“Manipulation of voters’ choice, voters forced to plead illiteracy and resort to assistance, use of traditional leaders to intimidate votes. Unauthorised voter migration – voters bussed into constituencies to vote for example in Harare South and Epworth,” alleged Mr Tsvangirai, who was lmost in tears.
Mr Tsvangirai also alleged militarisation of the electoral process and lack of transparency in the printing of ballots and the use of the postal voting system.
He also said there was also failure to implement Sadc reforms like media reform and security sector reform.
The MDC-T leader said he met the chairperson of the AU observer Mission, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and the head of the Sadc observer mission and told them that the election was not a credible one.
“For the above reasons, the election has been heavily manipulated. In our view, the outcome of this election is illegitimate. But more importantly, the shoddy manner in which it has been conducted and consequent illegitimacy of the result will plunge this country into serious crisis.
“We therefore call for Sadc and the AU audit teams to look into the process, in particular the voters roll, the ballots and the manner in which the whole process was conducted,” he said.
However, the AU observer mission head, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the leader of the Sadc Electoral Commissions Forum said the elections were held in a flawless, free, fair and credible manner.
Zimbabweans went to polls on Wednesday to choose a President, legislators and councilors.