Zimbabwe Election : Vote counting starts in Zimbabwe

Vote counting has started in Zimbabwe’s first general election since long-term President Robert Mugabe was pushed out of office last year and election officers prepared to start counting.
The electoral commission has said it will announce final results within five days.

Earlier, the main opposition leader said reports of voting delays were a “deliberate attempt” to undermine his supporters.

The allegations by Nelson Chamisa, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change party, intensified concerns about management of the election and the prospect of a dispute over its outcome.

About 5.5 million people were registered to vote in an election viewed by many as an opportunity to move beyond decades of political and economic paralysis.

More than 20 presidential candidates and nearly 130 political parties were participating. If no presidential candidate wins 50% of the vote, a run-off will be held on September 8.

The two main contenders are 75-year-old Mr Mnangagwa, who took over after Mr Mugabe stepped down under military and ruling party pressure last year, and 40-year-old Mr Chamisa, a lawyer and pastor who became head of the main opposition party a few months ago after the death of its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

After voting, Mr Mnangagwa said the election was peaceful and that he was committed to a Zimbabwe in which people have the “freedom to express their views, negative or positive”.

Piercing whistles and cheers greeted Mr Chamisa as he voted outside Harare. He said he hoped voting in rural areas, where most of Zimbabwe’s voters are and where the ruling party usually holds sway, will be fair.

See also  Zimbabwe's President Mnangagwa should have more than two terms – Zanu PF youth executive