, HARARE, August 2 – Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s party claimed Friday he is on course for a landslide win in an election branded a sham by his rivals, but which the African Union said was fair and credible.
Partial results of Wednesday’s poll have given the 89 year old a commanding lead, with his ZANU-PF party garnering 87 seats out of 120 declared.
“Our opponents don’t know what hit them,” party spokesman Rugare Gumbo told AFP. “It’s the prediction that the president might likely get 70 to 75 percent.”
ZANU-PF also predicted it would win a two thirds majority in parliament, enough to amend the new constitution that introduced term limits and curbed presidential powers.
Mugabe’s bitter rival Morgan Tsvangirai has rejected the vote as a “huge farce” and “null and void”.
“It’s a sham election that does not reflect the will of the people,” he said, pointing to a litany of alleged irregularities with the voters’ roll.
The independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network reported up to one million voters were prevented from voting in Tsvangirai strongholds.
But Mugabe won an endorsement from the African Union Friday, with former Nigerian president and military leader Olusegun Obasanjo saying the vote was basically free and fair.
“There are incidences that could have been avoided, but all in all we do not believe that these incidents will amount to the results not reflecting the will of the people,” he said.