Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader, has dismissed Robert Mugabe’s claims to victory in the country’s general election as a “farce”, insisting the results are null and void.
A senior source in Mr Mugabe’s party, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that the outcome of the election was already clear.
“We’ve taken this election. We’ve buried the MDC. We never had any doubt that we were going to win,” he said on Thursday.
However, a leading domestic election monitoring organisation has cried foul – claiming voters were turned away from polling stations in areas where Morgan Tsvangirai, Mr Mugabe’s opponent, is dominant.
Zimbabweans have been taken for a ride by ZANU-PF and Mugabe, we do not accept it. MDC source
Officials from the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said the election has been “seriously compromised.”
It claimed urban voters, who mainly favour Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, had been turned away from polling stations in their thousands, but only a small number had been prevented from voting in the countryside, where President Robert Mugabe has most support.
Wednesday’s election passed largely peacefully – and observers in the country, from countries including China and Venezuela, said the turn out had been high.
The head of an African Union observer mission said late on Wednesday that the polls appeared at first glance to be “peaceful, orderly and free and fair”.
The picture being presented is different from that of 2008, when the elections were marred by extreme violence perpetrated against the MDC.
However, one senior MDC source said the party was rejecting the claimed result, and described the election as “monumental fraud” – raising concerns that unrest could be on the horizon.
“Zimbabweans have been taken for a ride by ZANU-PF and Mugabe, we do not accept it,” the source, who asked not to be identified, said. The MDC was to hold an emergency meeting later on Thursday.
The United States has also raised concerns about the credibility of the election, following claims of irregularities from the MDC.
Its concerns focus on the voters’ roll, which was meant by law to be released in electronic form to all parties before the poll, but which has still not been made available.