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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Zimbabwe election: Robert Mugabe faces Morgan Tsvangirai
July 31, 2013
Zimbabwean election officials have been allowing people to vote
after the official end of polling, as a high turnout led to long
stations are now closed but a few have stayed open for late voters
in the fiercely
contested presidential and parliamentary poll.
President Robert Mugabe,
89, has said he will step down after 33 years in power if he and
his Zanu-PF party lose.
PM Morgan Tsvangirai's
MDC says Zanu-PF doctored the electoral roll.
It said the rolls contained
the names of two million dead people, and there were concerns about
the number of people being turned away from polling stations. Zanu-PF
denies the claims.
Zanu-PF and the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) have shared an uneasy coalition government
since 2009 under a deal brokered to end the deadly violence that
erupted after a disputed presidential poll the previous year.
Mr Mugabe dismissed the
MDC's allegations of vote-rigging as "politicking" as
he voted in the capital Harare's Highfield township.
"They want to find
a way out," Mr Mugabe said.
"I am sure people
will vote freely and fairly, there is no pressure being exerted
Mr Tsvangirai described
casting his ballot as an emotional moment "after all the conflict,
the stalemate, the suspicion, the hostility".
"This is a very
historic moment for us," he said.
won the most votes in the first
round of the 2008 poll, but pulled out of the run-off with Mr
Mugabe because of attacks on his supporters, which left about 200
The government barred
Western observers from monitoring Wednesday's elections, but the
African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community
(Sadc), as well as local organisations, have been accredited.
Polls opened at 07:00
local time (05:00 GMT) and had been due to close at 19:00.
However, because of the
high turnout election officials said people who were still waiting
in queues to vote by 19:00 would have until midnight to cast their
Results are due within
Election Support Network, the main domestic monitoring agency,
said the vote appeared to be taking place without too many problems,
Reuters news agency reports.
"There are some
concerns around long queues, but generally, it's smooth," said
its spokesman Thabani Nyoni.
Former Nigerian President
Olesegun Obasanjo, who heads a group of African Union monitors,
said the elections seemed credible.
"It's been quiet,
it's been orderly. The first place I called in this morning, they
opened prompt at seven o'clock and there haven't been any serious
incidents that... would not reflect the will of the people."
he told Reuters.
Big queues have been
reported across the country, but there have been numerous complaints
that voters were unable to find their names on the electoral roll.
According to villagers,
MDC polling agents and local election observers, some irregularities
were recorded in parts of rural Masvingo district.
Traditional leaders and
village heads are alleged to have lined up residents, forcibly marched
them to the polling stations and given them voting numbers as if
to cross-check who they had voted for.
There are also suggestions
that in these rural areas some literate people were forced to pretend
they could not read or write and were assisted to cast their vote
in favour of Zanu-PF.
On Tuesday, the MDC accused
Zanu-PF of doctoring the roll of registered voters, which was released
by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) only on the eve of the
polls after weeks of delay.
The MDC claimed the roll
dated back to 1985 and was full of anomalies.
A BBC correspondent has
seen the document and says it features the names of thousands of
Tendai Biti said there were as many as two million such names, while
some genuine voters were not finding their names on the rolls.
"The greatest worry
which we have is the number of persons that are being turned away,"
A Zanu-PF spokesman denied
the allegations and pointed out that appointees from both parties
were on Zec. He also accused Mr Biti, who is Finance Minister, of
not funding the commission properly. Zec has not commented.
In addition to Mr Mugabe
and Mr Tsvangirai, there are three other candidates standing for
the presidency - Welshman Ncube, leader of the breakaway MDC-Mutambara;
Dumiso Dabengwa of the Zimbabwe African People's Union (Zapu), and
Kisinoti Munodei Mukwazhe, who represents the small Zimbabwe Development
To be declared a winner,
a presidential candidate must win more than 50% of the vote. If
no candidate reaches this mark, a run-off will be held on 11 September.
The elections will be
the first to be held under the new constitution approved in a referendum
in March this year.
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