HARARE – MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa on Tuesday claimed his party was on course to win Monday’s general elections “resoundingly”.
The 40-year-old, challenging Zanu PF leader and incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, said he was “ready to form the next government” although no official results had been released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Tendai Biti, the outspoken leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which is in the Alliance, said “history had been made.”
Several candidates for Member of Parliament from the party also used social media to claim victories in their constituencies as vote counting went deep into the night.
“Winning resoundingly,” Chamisa said on Twitter. “We now have results from the majority of the over 10,000 polling stations. We’ve done exceedingly well.”
Chamisa said he was now waiting for ZEC, the elections management body he accuses of Zanu PF bias, to “perform their constitutional duty to officially announce the people’s election results”, adding: “We are ready to form the next government. #GodIsInIt.”
And Biti, who was projected to win a seat as MP for Harare East, also used Twitter to hint at an MDC Alliance victory.
“God is truly in it,” he said, reprising an MDC Alliance social media hashtag. “History has been made.”
The two leaders spoke publicly hours after the party claimed that its exit polling from across the country showed it winning the election by 65 percent.
Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda told ZimLive.com that results from across the country showed the Alliance with a “healthy lead and holding.”
On Monday evening, ZEC chairperson Priscilla Chigumba warned parties against announcing election results, saying this was the “sole prerogative of ZEC.”
But ZEC knows it cannot control the flow of information owing to a legal requirement to post election results outside each polling station once the counting is finished. Results were being shared across social media starting at around 10PM on Monday, three hours after polls closed, with stunning gains for the MDC in traditional Zanu PF strongholds.
An analysis of the results however showed that where Zanu PF was strongest, they tended to win by wide margins.
Zanu PF has held power for 38 years, during which the country has seen its economy tank and millions of Zimbabweans flee the country to live in economic exile.
Former President Robert Mugabe, who was deposed by Mnangagwa in a military coup last November, used an election eve press conference to back Chamisa over Mnangagwa, which analysts say could boost the young challenger’s chances – although it remains to be seen how much inroads the Alliance has made in areas where bitterness over the manner of Mugabe’s removal is still raw.-Zimlive