Zimbabwean opposition alleges ‘major fraud’ in vote extending ZANU-PF’s 43-year rule

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader on Sunday alleged “blatant and massive fraud” in the country’s presidential election after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory. Announce the winner International observers reported an atmosphere of voter intimidation.

Proceeds from the recent upset vote in Southern African country It was announced on Saturday night, two days earlier than expected. Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s Citizens Alliance for Change party said it would contest the results as “hastily compiled without proper verification”.

“They stole your vote, your vote, but never your hope,” Chamisa wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, in his first public reaction to the announced election result. “It is a blatant and gigantic fraud.”

People in the country of 15 million people must view the results with skepticism.

MnangagwaThe 80-year-old was re-elected to a second and final five-year term with 52.6% of the vote, according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The commission said Chamisa, 45, who also lost to Mnangagwa in a closely contested election five years ago, won 44 percent of the vote this time around.

International election observers I have noticed problems with the electionsWhich was held on Wednesday and Thursday, due to the atmosphere of intimidation against Chamisa’s supporters. In the run-up to the vote, international rights groups reported a crackdown on opponents of Mnangagwa and the long-ruling Zimbabwe African Union-Patriotic Front.

Rights groups said the party, which retained its parliamentary majority, according to the electoral commission, used the police and courts to harass and intimidate opposition officials and supporters.

Prior to the elections, Chamisa claimed to have participated in the elections Interview with the Associated Press that his party’s rallies were dispersed by the police and that his supporters were frequently intimidated and threatened with violence.

The actual election was also problematic and voting was extended to an extra day on Thursday due to a shortage of ballot papers, especially in the capital, Harare, and other urban areas that are strongholds of the opposition. People sleep at polling stations to make sure they can vote.

Mnangagwa’s victory means that the Zimbabwe African Union Party – National Front will retain the government leadership it has maintained throughout 43 years of rule. Zimbabwe history Since the nation was renamed after independence from white minority rule in 1980.

“It’s a very happy occasion indeed,” said Ziambi Ziambi, Mnangagwa’s election agent and cabinet minister. “Zimbabweans have shown confidence in our president and in the ZANU-PF.”

Zimbabwe has a history of contested and sometimes violent elections during more than four decades of ZANU-PF rule, most notably under authoritarian former President Robert Mugabe, who was leader for 37 years and oversaw a period of economic collapse that earned Zimbabwe notoriety internationally.

The Mugabe regime also led the United States and the European Union to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe for alleged human rights violations. These penalties are still very much in place.

Mugabe was removed from power in a military-led coup in 2017 and replaced by Mnangagwa, his former deputy. The coup was widely popular and celebrated as a new dawn, but while Mnangagwa promised an era of freedom and prosperity, critics alleged that the former guerrilla fighter nicknamed “Crocodile” had become as repressive as his predecessor.

Zimbabwe has seen only these two leaders in more than four decades of independence.

The results of the 2023 election were released at around 11.30pm on Saturday at the Official Results Center in Harare, surprising many. It came just 48 hours after polls closed in the postponed election, when election officials had intended to announce the results five days after voting ended.

“We reject any results that are hastily compiled without proper verification,” Promise Mkwananzi, a spokesman for Chamisa’s CCC party, said minutes after the results were announced. “We will advise citizens of the next steps as the situation develops,” he added.

While the result is likely to be closely scrutinized, Chamisa’s party did not immediately announce whether it would challenge it through the courts. Chamisa contested his 2018 election loss to Mnangagwa, but this was rejected by the Constitutional Court.

Election observers said they had specific concerns about this vote about an organization affiliated with the ruling party called Forever Associates of Zimbabwe, which they said set up tables at polling stations and recorded details of people entering voting booths. The head of the African Union observer mission, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, said the activities of the Zairean armed forces should be considered “criminal offences”.

More than 40 local poll watchers have also been arrested over allegations of vandalism that critics of the government said were fabricated.

Before the results were announced on Saturday. Dozens of policemen armed with water cannons Guarding the National Center for Results. It was the scene of deadly post-election violence five years ago, when soldiers killed six people during protests.

It showed no sign of unrest early Sunday. The streets in Harare, normally bustling with late-night vendors, were empty shortly after the announcement on Saturday night, as people gasped for the results and another victory for ZANU-PF, which would take the party’s rule for nearly half a century. .

β€œIt is done. It never changes,” said Gerald Chusawa, a security guard at a grocery store. β€œI had some hope.”

“Now it is better to prepare to join the others who have left the country. This is the best option.”

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