Even without Robert Mugabe, the ruling party in Zimbabwe has held on to victory in a historic election.
Zanu-PF won 109 seats in parliament, beating out opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)’s 41 seats, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced on Wednesday.
The presidential election result is expected later, while 58 remaining seats in Zimbabwe’s 210-seater House of Assemblies are yet to be declared. Zimbabweans voted on Monday July 30 in the first election since the removal of Mugabe in November last year.
With Zanu-PF’s parliamentary victory, current president Emmerson Mnangagwa seemed confident, tweeting out Bible verses as he calls for patience ahead of the poll result.
Nearly six million Zimbabweans voted directly for a president and members of parliament, as well as 9,000 local councillors. In order to be declared winner of the presidential election, the candidate must win 50% plus one vote. If this outright victory is not achieved, a presidential runoff will be held in September.
Nelson Chamisa, the 40-year-old pastor and lawyer who took over after Morgan Tsvangirai died in February, challenged the results in a tweet. He accused the electoral commission of releasing the parliamentary results first as a means to manipulate the result in favor of Zanu-PF.
A day earlier, opposition politician Tendai Biti said one out five polling stations, adding up to more 2000, had not posted their tallies publicly, as is required by law. He also accused the electoral commission of favoring 75-year-old incumbent Mnangagwa.
In power since independence in 1980, Zanu-PF’s popularity in the rural constituencies has likely secured another win. In the capital city Harare, MDC supporters gathered at the party’s headquarters to begin celebrating what they believed was a sure victory. There are fears that the country may see violence, with reports of water cannon trucks patrolling the city.