03 April 2008
More than five days after voting ended for four national elections in Zimbabwe, results for three of the contests are still outstanding. Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, will chair a meeting of his party's leadership Friday as the country continues to await results from a tense presidential vote. Peta Thornycroft reports for VOA from Harare, that rumor and speculation continue to muddy the political waters as people wait for results, in particular the presidential poll.
The long wait for the tally in the presidential poll has created opportunities for interest groups to take public positions against their opponents.
The independent Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe says state-owned daily newspapers and television are displaying strong bias towards President Robert Mugabe and his party, ZANU-PF.
The Herald newspaper slammed the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which won a majority of the parliamentary seats. It again repeated ZANU-PF allegations of the past eight years that the British government is the "real power" behind the MDC.
By mid-day there was also no result from the Zimbabwe Elections Commission in the race for the Senate. The newly created Senate can block legislation passed by parliament.
For the first time since independence in 1980, ZANU-PF narrowly lost its parliamentary majority late Wednesday when the Zimbabwe Election Commission announced results for the assembly.
Results are also due for about 2,000 local government councilors.
But for most Zimbabweans, the news they want to hear is the tally in the presidential poll. Zimbabwe's constitution, which has been amended many times, accords the president enormous powers.
President Mugabe's deputy information minister, Bright Matonga, says if President Mugabe does not win a clear majority of 50 percent plus one vote, he will take part in a run-off election as demanded by law.
President Mugabe appeared relaxed when he appeared on state television saying good-bye to a group of election observers from the African Union.
The opposition MDC presidential challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, says he believes he has already won a small majority, but he has indicated he would also participate in a run-off.
Meanwhile, South Africa's national broadcaster is reporting that the third candidate in the presidential race, Simba Makoni, says he will throw his weight behind Tsvangirai in any run-off.
Several vendors of imported groceries in a high-density suburb south of Harare say they are certain the delay in announcing the results of the presidential poll would rob Tsvangirai of victory.
One said he wanted revenge against Mr. Mugabe. He said he has been living in poverty since 2005 when police broke down his small shop where he sold scrap metal as well as second-hand tools.
Despite their obvious anxiety to know the outcome of the vote, Zimbabweans continue to wait patiently and peacefully for results.