The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance yesterday claimed to have won Monday’s presidential race and accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of plotting to rig the polls by taking long to officially announce the results.
This came as the ruling Zanu PF party took an early lead in parliamentary elections, having bagged 36 of the contested 210 seats against MDC Alliance’s 11 and NPF’s one seat at the time of going to print last night.
Zanu PF maintained its dominance in the rural constituencies and snatched a few urban seats taking advantage of divisions between Chamisa and Thokozani Khupe’s MDC-T camps.
Speaking to journalists at the party offices in Harare, MDC Alliance principal Tendai Biti raised a red flag over what he claimed were Zec’s machinations to rig the poll by withholding 21% of V11 forms which had official results from various polling stations.
“We have made it clear to Zec that if they do not announce the results, we will do so ourselves because they are withholding the publishing of 21% V11 forms,” Biti said.
“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.”
In the morning, Chamisa claimed he was on course to become the next President of the country.
“Winning resoundingly…we now have results from the majority of the over 10 000 polling stations. We’ve done exceedingly well. Awaiting Zec to perform their constitutional duty to officially announce the people’s election results and we are ready to form the next government,” he tweeted.
Biti said it was impossible that Zanu PF would win the elections given the tallies they received from opposition agents at different polling stations which he claimed confirmed a resounding victory for Chamisa.
“We have seen how we have won in those areas including rural areas, we were leading, and now they want to hide on the Zanu PF usual manipulation that they control rural areas. Anyone who is a student of history must know that Zanu PF wants to hide on claiming victory in the rural areas where they traditionally manipulate the rural vote. They are now trying to manipulate the V11 forms,” he said.
Biti said the law was very clear that they cannot announce results, but it was lawful to make a statement and to celebrate a victory from the results they have seen on V11 forms.
“For us to celebrate is within the confines of our political rights. So, the behaviour of our supporters is within the confines of the law and our political freedoms,” he said as party supporters celebrated outside the party offices.
Earlier, Biti had said the MDC Alliance would allow Zec to do its job uninterrupted, but warned that they had many options to defend their vote should they feel frustrated by the mother body.
“We have people waiting in queues guarding our votes and they (Zec) are delaying to give us the V11 forms. So we are giving them enough rope to hang themselves but they have to do the right thing,” Biti said.
“By today all the results have to be announced. We will let the law take its course but if there is frustration we have options and those options include Section 59 of the Constitution.”
In terms of the Electoral Act, Zec has to release results within five days.
MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora yesterday warned of possible public protests should Zec tamper with the results.
“If Zanu PF and Zec try to cheat, we are confident that the people of Zimbabwe will react. How they react we have absolutely no idea nor do we have any control. Therefore, we are just hoping that the people’s will be respected,” he said.
MDC Alliance Harare provincial youth organising secretary, Lovejoy Chitengu also told NewsDay that their party agents had collated the results at all polling stations in the country, which showed victory for the opposition.
“We have all the results which show that whereas our MPs were losing in Zanu PF strongholds, our presidential candidate was winning overally. We are not going to announce the percentages because it is the duty of Zec, but we are prepared to die for this election. I urge our supporters to join in celebration until Zec announces the results,” Chitengu said.
But, Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana described MDC Alliance’s victory celebrations as premature.
“Mad people are dancing whilst normal people are watching, but all I can say is that they are exercising their human rights,” he said.
Mangwana dismissed reports also doing the rounds that Zanu PF had won the election by 54%.
“We never made a declaration that we won. We do not have the results. But, naturally we are expecting to win and we will wait for Zec to announce the results. People have confidence in Zanu PF. MDC might have support in cities, but they do not have support in rural areas,” Mangwana said.
Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) that her commission was ready to engage police and cause the arrest of party leaders who prematurely announce the results.
“It is the Zimbabwe Republic Police that has the mandate to arrest anyone suspected of that offence. We only refer the complaint to them and say please look at this complaint,” Chigumba said.
Self-exiled former Higher and Tertiary Education, Jonathan Moyo claimed results posted outside polling stations across the country showed plus/minus 60% of the vote for Chamisa, but alleged there were overnight developments that “pointed to a plot to subvert the will of the people.”
“Mnangagwa was given the results posted outside polling stations, in the wee hours. His camp was subdued throughout the night after it received the disappointing polling station results. There was lots of blame-pointing within the camp. A scramble for “Plan B” ensued!” Moyo alleged on his Twitter page.
“As part of the scramble for “Plan B”, some Zec commissioners, including its chairperson Chigumba, have been briefing selected journalists and diplomats since early this morning to plant a staggering backroom narrative that Mnangagwa ‘will win’ by between 53% and 55% of the vote.”
He said a number of constituencies where Zanu PF won the parliamentary seat, Chamisa carried the presidential vote.
“The information posted outside polling stations showed Chamisa had well over two million votes. Something sinister appears to be afoot!” Moyo alleged.
“Zec’s lack of transparency continues to blight this election. It’s underhanded briefing to selected journalists and diplomats to announce a result before it has received votes from six provinces deserves urgent attention of election observers and the voters to protect their vote!”
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