Zanu-PF presidential candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa tweeted on Tuesday that the party’s representatives on the ground shared positive information as the outcome of Monday’s Zimbabwean election is pending.
The successor of former president Robert Mugabe, who was removed from the presidency following military intervention last year, tweeted he was pleased by the high voter turnout.
It was reported the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) placed the voter turnout at 75%.
“The information from our reps on the ground is extremely positive! Waiting patiently for official results as per the constitution,” Mnangagwa tweeted on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa’s opposition, MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, tweeted his party had enjoyed a resounding victory after receiving results from more than 10 000 polling stations.
“We’ve done exceedingly well. Awaiting ZEC to perform their constitutional duty to officially announce the people’s election results and we are ready to form the next gvt,” the 40-year-old said.
Furthermore, according to media reports, election observers are locked in a meeting in the country’s capital.
It was further reported that a province in Zimbabwe had begun celebrating Chamisa’s victory.
Zimbabwe appeared to be heading for a contested result in the historic election, raising the likelihood of a bitter battle over allegations of fraud and malpractice from both sides.
Chamisa raised allegations of voter fraud repeatedly during the campaign.
Counting had continued through the night after a strong turnout in Zimbabwe’s first election without Mugabe, who was ousted in November after 37 years in office.
Zanu-PF has held an iron grip on power in Zimbabwe since independence from British colonial rule in 1980, and victory for the opposition would be a major upset.
Analysts said it was unclear whether the generals, who back Mnangagwa, would accept a MDC win.
Officials overseeing the elections, in which a record number of candidates stood, said many polling stations had queues.
Previously-banned European Union election observers, present for the first time in years, said participation appeared high, but warned of possible problems in the vote process.
“There are shortcomings that we have to check. We don’t know yet whether it was a pattern or whether it was a question of bad organisation in certain polling stations,” the EU’s chief observer Elmar Brok told AFP.
The bloc will deliver a preliminary report on the conduct of the election on Wednesday.
“Overall [there was] a huge amount of voting – especially young people, mostly in a very good atmosphere, generally peaceful, which is positive,” Brok added.
At one polling station in the capital Harare, officials counted large piles of votes using gas lanterns and candles late into the night.
“I am not shy to say I voted for Chamisa. He is young and can understand our plight as youth,” said Ndumiso Nyoni, 20, a worker at a lodge in Lupane, western Zimbabwe.
With 5.6 million registered voters, full results of the presidential, parliamentary and local elections are due by August 4.
A run-off vote is scheduled for September 8 if no presidential candidate wins at least 50%.
Mugabe, 94, whose authoritarian regime held power via fraud-riddled and violent elections, voted at his customary polling station in Harare alongside his wife Grace after a surprise press conference at his home on Sunday when he called for voters to reject Zanu-PF.
Mnangagwa was the clear election frontrunner, benefiting from tacit military support, loyal state media and ruling party controls of government resources.
But his rival Chamisa, a young lawyer and pastor who has performed strongly on the campaign trail, vowed to tap into the huge youth vote.
The new government will face tackling mass unemployment and an economy shattered by the seizure of white-owned farms under Mugabe, the collapse of agriculture, hyperinflation and an investment exodus.
Previously solid health and education services are in ruins and millions have fled abroad to seek work.
In 2008, then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the presidential runoff against Mugabe after attacks orchestrated by the state claimed the lives of at least 200 of his supporters.
additional reporting, AFP