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
Mugabe Rival Calls Shenanigans in Zimbabwe Election
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)

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Mugabe's party initially declared victory on Twitter, but it has since rescinded the tweet amid a hail of criticism, CBS News reports.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." (Read more Zimbabwe stories.)

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