DANAI MWARUMBA, MARCUS MUSHONGA, MERCY MUJURU & REGIS MADZVAMUSE
THE frontrunners in Zimbabwe’s historic poll have expressed confidence on winning the election but a nail biting wait is on for the official announcement of results probably before weekend.
The incumbent, Emmerson Mnangagwa of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), and his fiercest rival, Nelson Chamisa, leading the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, are tipped to win the vote after the elections went off without major incident on Monday.
Electoral authorities reported a huge voter turnout in the first polls excluding ousted president, Robert Mugabe, from the ballot. More than 5 million Zimbabweans were registered to vote.
Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s interim successor after the November 2017 coup, expressed delight at the public’s response to the momentous exercise.
“I am delighted by the high turnout and citizen engagement so far,” he said on Tuesday.
“The information from our representatives on the ground is extremely positive. (We are) waiting patiently for official results as per the constitution,” Mnangagwa added.
Chamisa reacted saying he was winning “resoundingly.”
He claimed the party had results from the majority of over 10 000 polling stations.
“We have done exceedingly well,” he restated.
“…awaiting ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) to perform their constitutional duty to officially announce the people’s election results and we are ready to form the next government,” Chamisa said.
He has maintained complacency despite earlier claims ZEC would rig the poll.
The mood meanwhile among the electorate is positive, with a rare show of unity between rival party supporters.
This is in stark contrast to the violence preceding, during and after elections held in previous years.
“Gone are the days when Zimbabweans were made to fight one another following instigation by the divisive former president Mugabe,” said ZANU-PF supporter, Tinomudaishe Chawatama, of Highfield.
He spoke in the midst of vocal MDC supporters alongside who he listened to live updates.
“If our president (Chamisa) wins, we will celebrate together. If he loses to Mnangagwa, tough luck to him, but peace, love and harmony must prevail,” MDC supporter, Misheck Makau, interrupted.
In Manicaland, a hotbed of interparty violence in previous years, peace prevailed as supporters keenly awaited the announcement of results.
Supporters of MDC and ZANU-PF mingled freely.
Rival supporters, mainly the unemployed youths, could be seen sharing drinks at the sprawling Murambinda centre.
“We are enjoying rare peace because messages of non-aggression started at the top,” said MDC’s Zivai Mozokomba.
ZEC has assured the new president would be announced by Saturday.
A runoff will be held on September 8 if none of the 23 candidates secures
over 50 percent of the vote.
The vote counting was still in progress at the time of going to press.
– CAJ News