ZIMBABWE’S ruling Zanu PF party has retained its House of Assembly and Senate seats in the first result announced from a partial recount in 23 constituencies following general elections on March 29.
from our correspondent in Harare
The result of the Goromonzi West election was disputed by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), it being one of two which the party challenged after results released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) showed it overturn Zanu PF’s majority in parliament for the first time.
More results are still expected in 22 more constituencies, 21 of which are being challenged by Zanu PF which claims the MDC bribed election officials to undercount its votes and President Robert Mugabe’s in the presidential poll whose result is still unknown, over three weeks later.
Zanu PF gained a single vote in the House of Assembly recount in Goromonzi West, taking its tally to 6194, against the MDC’s 5931. The Senate results remained unchanged.
Interestingly, the Goromonzi West election was one of two claimed to be “fatally flawed” when the recount began by a SADC election observer Dianne Kohbler-Barnard — a Member of Parliament for South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance.
She claimed to have seen “ballot boxes with keys missing. One had a padlock open. Some had the envelopes with the keys sealed with Sellotape instead of wax… It tells me the box was opened, the ballots were fiddled with and it was repackaged but the person did it badly.”
The MDC charges that the exercise is a farce and has been fixed by Zanu PF after ballot stuffing, a charge which President Robert Mugabe’s party
Election officials were expecting the bulk of results from the recount to be announced starting on Wednesday morning.
Recounts are being carried out in Chimanimani West, Mutare West, Bikita
West, Bikita South, Bulilima East, Zhombe, Zaka West, Zvimba North,
Silobela, Chiredzi North, Mberengwa East, West, South and North, Gutu South, North and Central.
In Zimbabwe’s 210 member House of Assembly, a party needs 106 seats to be able to pass laws and elect a Speaker. Three elections were postponed, and of those contested, the MDC was declared to have won 99 to Zanu PF’s 97 and another MDC faction won 10 seats, with one going to an independent.
Zanu PF needs to overturn results in at least nine constituencies won by the MDC to regain the majority.
In the Upper House or Senate, Zanu PF has 30 seats, Tsvangirai’s MDC 24 and another MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara has control of six. Whoever wins the presidential race appoints 10 provincial governors, and five Senators. Eighteen chiefs are seconded from the Council of Chiefs to seat in the deliberative 93-member chamber which has the power to block legislation.
Meanwhile, the state run Herald, seen as a barometer of the official mood, today called for a governemt of nation unity.
It said a transitional government should seek the help of the SADC and the international community to write a new constitution adopted after a national referendum.
“It stands to reason that, the transitional government of national unity,
negotiated by the two leading contending parties, under the mediation of SADC, supported by the international community, should be led by the incumbent president,” it said.
The MDC deprived Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party of its majority in parliament in a parallel vote on March 29 but there has also been a delay to a partial recount of votes from that poll.
The recount could overturn the MDC victory. The opposition and Western
governments say it is merely another ploy by Mugabe to steal back the election.