- The Zimbabwean government warned opposition parties and candidates that they would face prosecution for releasing election results before the official announcement was made
- The warning came as the official opposition MDC party claimed it had won the election
- The Zimbabwean Electoral Commission said it would only announce the results of the presidential race once all results had been collected and verified
Opposition parties in Zimbabwe have been warned by the government not to release election results before the official announcement was made. The government said doing so constituted a serious violation of the law and those guilty faced jail time.
The warning comes after the official opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party led by the youthful Nelson Chamisa claimed it had won Monday’s election.
The Zimbabwean Electoral Commission (ZEC) has already stated it would only announce the winner of the presidential race once all of the results from across the country had been collected and verified. The ZEC has until 4 August to release the results of the election.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Zimbabwe’s home affairs minister Obert Mpofu said the government was concerned about reports that certain party leaders had publicly stated they would declare the results of the election regardless of what the rule of law requires.
eNCA.com reported that the country’s former finance minister Tendai Biti earlier told supporters that the MDC would not hesitate to declare the results of the election should the ZEC fail to act in a timeous manner.
Biti sensationally told media outlets that according to the MDC’s own calculations based on exit polls, observations and the reports of various agents at polling stations Chamisa was now the president-elect of Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, a report filed by News24.com indicated that contrary to the MDC claim it was actually the ruling Zanu-PF led by the incumbent president Emmerson Mnangagwa who has taken a comfortable lead in the election.
The report indicated that the ruling party had thus far won 73 of the 102 seats in Zimbabwe’s Parliament. The MDC had managed 28 while the newly established NPF had bagged the remaining seat.
It should be noted these results are not official as yet and were originally reported by a state-owned newspaper.
The first early official results do, however, seem to support these figures. The ZEC released results from seven out of 210 polling stations. Zanu-PF won six while the MDC only won one.
The elections have been hailed as largely free and fair with only minor technical glitches and none of the violence and intimidation which had become hallmarks of previous elections. Voter turnout was incredibly high at well over 70%.
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