Zanu-PF poised for landslide

23% of legislative results Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF takes lead

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's decision to delay announcing the results of the presidential race at least until Thursday - three days after the vote - seemed certain to bring more opposition anger if President Emmerson Mnangagwa is declared the victor.

Spokesperson Paul Mangwana also tells reporters that opposition supporters were responsible for Wednesday's deadly violence in the capital in which the military swept in with gunfire to disperse protests over alleged rigging in Monday's vote.

The protestors had come out in large numbers to oppose the House of Assembly election results that gave the ruling Zanu-PF party a more than two-thirds majority, and were now demanding the release of the presidential results, which they accused ZEC of tampering with, to deprive opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance, a clear victory.

The Commonwealth joined other election observers in urging Zimbabwe to release results of the presidential vote as soon as possible to reduce the tensions, saying delays will increase speculation that results were manipulated.

The result of the presidential vote is not yet known.

Chamisa declared an early victory on Tuesday long before the counting had been completed - including in the rural regions that tend to overwhelmingly support the ruling party. Three people were killed.

A credible and peaceful vote was meant to end Zimbabwe's global isolation and draw in foreign investment to revive the shattered economy.

The observers had been invited by the ZANU-PF's leader, President Emmerson Mnangagwa as part of his "guarantee" of a "free, fair and transparent election" and their verdict on the poll was mixed. Police said six people died when army troops opened fire on protesters the day before.

Both leading contestants in Zimbabwe's disputed presidential election indicated they had won on Thursday as a tense nation awaited official results three days after voting.

Mnangagwa said on Twitter that he wanted an independent investigation into the killings, and that he sought to settle differences "peacefully".

Zimbabwe's minister of justice, Ziyambi Ziyambi, has promised to restore "peace and tranquillity" in Harare but acrimony and distrust has only increased.

The ruling party forced Mugabe to resign in November, when the military briefly seized control of the country, and replaced him with Mnangagwa, his former deputy and spy chief.

Police also sealed off roads to the election body's offices as the protesters headed back to the Movement for Democratic Change offices.

"We expect that these results will become a reflection of what we are expecting in the presidential elections". Quiet descended as people waited for election results expected later in the day.

"The more the presidential vote is delayed, the more it calls into question the population's confidence in the election process", said former Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the lead observer of a USA monitoring mission.

The European Union said the elections were competitive and freedoms were respected, but that there was a lack of a "truly level playing field".

The Police's Charity Charamba says the situation in the country, especially here in the capital of Harare, remains tense.

Mnangagwa's government, meanwhile, accused Chamisa and his supporters of inciting "violence" by already declaring he had won the election, the first after former leader Mugabe stepped down in November.

Police have said they requested the military's help because they were "unable to cope".

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