Zimbabwe election results start to trickle in after delays, activist arrests

  • Second day of voting in 40 wards after delays on day one
  • Police arrest 41 civil society activists
  • First constituency results introduced on state tv
  • Zimbabwe has lengthy historical past of electoral fraud

HARARE, Aug 24 (Reuters) – The first constituency results emerged on Thursday in Zimbabwe’s election after delays pressured a second day of voting in a small variety of neighbourhoods and civil society activists had been arrested.

Zimbabweans voted for president and lawmakers on Wednesday, with many expressing hope for change after years of financial hardship. But analysts warned it was unlikely the ruling ZANU-PF get together would permit any loosening of its 43-year grip on energy.

Fewer than 10 of 210 parliamentary constituencies had results on Thursday, making it too early to establish any nationwide pattern. Results in the presidential race weren’t anticipated for one more day or two however earlier than a five-day deadline.

Voting was prolonged on Thursday in 40 wards, that are the dimensions of neighbourhoods, representing fewer than 1% of the whole 12,374. The electoral fee stated the trigger was late printing of poll papers after court docket challenges however gave no additional particulars.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, 80, who took over from longtime strongman Robert Mugabe after a 2017 coup and gained a disputed election in 2018, was looking for a second full time period.

His major challenger was the identical as final time: Nelson Chamisa, 45, of the Citizens Coalition for Change.

Mnangagwa’s re-election bid comes after years of runaway inflation, steep foreign money depreciation and hovering joblessness which have left many Zimbabweans depending on U.S. greenback remittances from family abroad.

Despite widespread dissatisfaction with the federal government, analysts stated the electoral enjoying subject was closely skewed in favour of ZANU-PF, which has an extended historical past of utilizing state establishments to manipulate elections in its favour.

Foreign lenders and donors have stated a free and truthful election was a pre-condition for any talks to assist Zimbabwe resolve a debt disaster and entry World Bank and International Monetary Fund loans.

The authorities and the electoral fee have stated the election can be clear.


Police stated that they had detained 41 individuals and seized cellphones, laptops and different digital gear throughout raids on 4 areas in Harare following a tip-off regarding “subversive and criminal activities”.

“The equipment was being used to unlawfully tabulate election voting statistics and results from polling stations throughout the country,” police spokesman Paul Nyathi stated in a press release.

The police named among the organisations focused because the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Election Resource Centre and Team Pachedu – all well-known civil society teams that had stated they had been monitoring the vote in the pursuits of democracy.

Zimbabwe’s political opposition and impartial analysts have lengthy accused the police of partisan conduct, with opposition rallies usually being banned or dispersed and figures essential of the federal government arbitrarily arrested. The police reject the allegation of bias.

Reuters reporters who went to two wards on Thursday the place the voting was prolonged stated there was little or no exercise on the polling stations. It was unclear whether or not voters had not heard the stations had been open, had given up or had voted already.

Eldred Masungure, a lecturer in political science on the University of Zimbabwe, stated the confusion would jeopardise the integrity of the election and of the electoral fee.

“In the affected wards, we witnessed what amounts to an institutional disaster,” he stated. “That injury has been addressed somewhat but not everyone will have the time nor the resources to vote today.”

Writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Miral Fahmy and Devika Syamnath

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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