ZANU-PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa. Picture: SUPPLIED
ZANU-PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa. Picture: SUPPLIED

Harare — Zimbabwe’s governing party, Zanu-PF, won a majority of parliamentary seats in the first election of the post-Robert Mugabe era, as the opposition and advocacy groups questioned the credibility of the process.

With almost three-quarters of results from the legislative vote tallied, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu-PF had won 110 of the 210 directly elected seats in the National Assembly, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) officials said in Harare on Wednesday.

Nelson Chamisa’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance won 40, while the National Patriotic Front and an independent candidate each secured one. Another 60 seats will be allocated to women based on the proportion of the vote their party wins.

After a largely peaceful campaign and vote on Monday, the focus now shifts to the credibility of the process and whether the results are accepted — key pillars needed to rebuild Zimbabwe after two decades of decline under Mugabe’s rule.

The jury is still out on whether the contest was fair, with observers noting a number of flaws and the opposition alleging there had been a deliberate attempt to frustrate and suppress urban voters.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the country’s largest group of nongovernmental organisations, said the July 30 election “falls short of a credible process”. It cited concerns that the voters’ roll had not been released prior to the poll, about a fifth of results from the presidential ballot were not published outside polling stations and that some voters had been “deliberately displaced”.

The MDC also questioned the pace of releasing results from the presidential vote. The ruling party’s margin of victory in legislative elections makes Mnangagwa the stand-out favourite in that race, which featured 22 candidates. The outcome will be announced once results from all provinces are received and verified, Priscilla Chigumba, the chair of the electoral commission, told reporters. Final results must be released by August 4.

The ZEC “seeks to release results to buy time and reverse the people’s presidential election victory”, Chamisa said on his Twitter account. “The strategy is meant to prepare Zimbabwe mentally to accept fake presidential results.”

Chamisa, a lawyer and pastor who took control of the MDC after the death of founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February, said on Tuesday that based on his party’s own count of unofficial results from more than 90% of the 10,985 polling stations, the MDC was “winning resoundingly” and ready to form the next government.

Home affairs minister Obert Mpofu accused individuals and parties of inciting violence by declaring themselves winners before the results were announced. EU and US observer groups were due to deliver their assessments of the vote later on Wednesday

Whoever wins the vote will have to administer a broke treasury that is unable to service its loans or take out new ones, leaving little scope to improve government services, rebuild crumbling transport links and meet a plethora of other election pledges

“The ability for the new government kick-start the economy will in a large part depend on to what extent it can mobilise external support for whatever reform programme they will embark on,” said Mark Bohlund, an Africa economist at Bloomberg Economics.

“There is arguably a strong desire to help Zimbabwe pave its way out the economic disaster of the last decades, but also an understandable suspicion of the real intent of the political and economic elite to change their ways.”