Posted by Alex Bell on Thursday, August 1, 2013
As Zimbabweans continue to speculate about the results of Wednesday’s elections, analysts have warned that the country could be facing another stalemate with the results being widely disputed.
The official results from Wednesday’s polls have not yet been announced by the commission in charge of the elections. But results from different constituencies were being leaked throughout the day on Thursday.
These preliminary results have indicated that ZANU PF will walk away as victors of the 2013 electoral battle, with their former MDC partners in government alleging massive rigging and fraud.
A report on Wednesday morning by the Reuters news agency quoted a ZANU PF source who allegedly insisted that Robert Mugabe’s party had won.
“We’ve taken this election. We’ve buried the MDC. We never had any doubt that we were going to win,” the source, who could not be named, told Reuters.
The MDC-T on Wednesday then said the results were “null and void” because of vote rigging in ZANU PF’s favour and massive irregularities in the voters roll.
The International Crisis Group also warned this week that a credible election was unlikely, given the conditions under which the poll was held. The group said in a report released Monday that the country was ‘inadequately prepared’ for the polls and the conditions for a free and fair poll did not exist.
The Group’s Southern Africa Director Piers Pigou told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that Zimbabwe could be heading once again into a “political stalemate and impasse.”
“We are I think heading towards a lose-lose situation, because it seems that an election that is not credible and endorsed by regional bodies, will make it extremely difficult for international community to support this outcome. This has serious implications for the long term stability of Zimbabwe and has profound knock on effects for economic recovery. And there’s a real concern than we are heading back into a pre 2008 political standoff,” Pigou said.
He added that the regional SADC bloc and the African Union (AU) face “severe credibility tests,” if they endorse the outcome of the poll, which he said is “likely.”
Paul-Simon Handy, the head of the Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis Division at the Institute for Security Studies, also agreed that an endorsement by the African leadership bodies was likely, because “their main concern with these elections was to make sure it was violence free, and that has certainly happened.”
“This doesn’t mean that the process was free and fair. But the AU and SADC are less concerned about the technicalities, where vote rigging may have happened, than about the general environment under which elections had taken place. Which means we are likely to see an endorsement by whatever results are announced,” Handy told SW Radio Africa.