HARARE, Zimbabwe - After wrapping up a peaceful polling period, during which the country came out overwhelmingly to vote - recording a 75 percent voter turnout - all eyes were trained on the results.
Amid some delays that irked the opposition, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced on Wednesday evening that Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling ZANU-PF party was cruising towards a big majority in the Parliament.
Figures released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission showed that the ruling ZANU-PF party had picked up 109 seats against 41 for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
It said the another 58 seats are yet to be declared
The ZANU-PF party would now need to win 30 more to have a two-thirds majority in the House of Assembly of Parliament, which has 210 seats in all.
The election commission said the the results of the presidential poll would released on Saturday.
However, being handed a shocking defeat after winning the “popular vote,” MDC Alliance leader and Mnangagwa chief competitor in the Presidential polls, Nelson Chamisa took to Twitter to accuse the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of releasing the parliamentary results first to prepare Zimbabweans for a Mnangagwa victory
Chamisa said, “The strategy is meant to prepare Zimbabwe mentally to accept fake presidential results. We've more votes than ED (Emmerson Dambudzo). We won the popular vote (and) will defend it.”
Provoked by MDC’s accusations of election authorities falsifying results - Chamisa’s supporters declared him winner and the large gathering that started from the party headquarters soon turned violent, burning tires, bringing down signs and even clashing with cops in certain areas.
The possibility of the riots growing more destabilizing, the army decided to quell the protesters and the exchange between angry protesters and military left three people dead.
Mnangagwa subsequently blamed the opposition for the unrest and fatalities.
He said in a statement, “We hold the opposition MDC Alliance and its whole leadership responsible for this disturbance of national peace.”
Further, the country’s Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu warned that the government "will not tolerate any of the actions that were witnessed.”
He said, "The opposition... have perhaps interpreted our understanding to be weak, and I think they are testing our resolve and I think they are making a big mistake."
Chamisa’s spokesman Nkululeko Sibanda meanwhile said that the army’s reaction in quelling disturbances in the capital was disproportionate and unjustified.