Mugabe Rival Calls Shenanigans in Zimbabwe Election

And election monitors say he's right
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2013 7:22 AM CDT
Zimbabweans wait to cast their vote in Presidential and parliamentary elections in the Southern African Nation in Harare, July, 31, 2013.   (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
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(Newser) – Results haven't been officially announced yet in Zimbabwe's just-completed presidential election, but President Robert Mugabe's main challenger is already decrying the entire affair as a "huge farce" and declaring the outcome "null and void," the BBC reports. "It's a sham election that does not reflect the will of the people," Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said. Election monitors say he's got a point. They yesterday revealed a host of alleged irregularities and dirty trickery, including:

  • In cities, where Tsvangirai is popular, 82% of voters were turned away. In rural areas where Mugabe has an edge, half that many were.
  • In some areas, village leaders rounded people up, marched them to the polls, and gave them each voting numbers in an apparent attempt to verify who they voted for.
  • Literate people were allegedly forced to pretend they were illiterate so they could have someone "help" them vote for Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
Mugabe's party initially declared victory on Twitter, but it has since rescinded the tweet amid a hail of criticism, CBS News reports. A Zanu-PF official admitted there had been irregularities, but said the party had tried hard to make Zimbabwe "as conducive as it possibly can [be] for an election that is free and fair." And, on the bright side, African regional observers praised the vote for being violence-free—unlike the 2008 campaign, which the New York Times points out was rife with intimidation. "This is a huge change," one voter said. "The atmosphere is much freer."

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