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Chamisa says MDC has done exceedingly well in vote seen as very close

Nelson Chamisa and President Emmerson Mnangagwa were the main contenders in Monday’s election, the first since long-ruling Robert Mugabe was removed in a bloodless coup in November.

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa (wearing red tie) prepares to cast his vote in Zimbabwe's presidential elections on 30 July 2018. Picture: EWN

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader said on his official Twitter feed on Tuesday his party had collected results from more than 10,000 polling stations, which showed the MDC had done exceedingly well and was ready to form the next government.

Nelson Chamisa, 40, and 75-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa were the main contenders in Monday’s election, the first since long-ruling Robert Mugabe was removed in a bloodless coup in November.

Several civil society groups are collating results in parallel with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) but are not allowed to release results before the ZEC. A source at one group said it was too early to call a winner but it was looking “very close”.

“Awaiting ZEC to perform their constitutional duty to officially announce the people’s election results and we are ready to form the next government,” Chamisa said.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Tuesday that the ruling party was receiving “extremely positive” information from their representatives, a day after the first election since Robert Mugabe resigned following a bloodless coup.

He said on Twitter that he was delighted by the high voter turnout, which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission put at 75%.

Mnangagwa was viewed as the frontrunner, although the latest opinion polls showed a tight race. There will be a runoff on 8 September if no candidate wins more than half the votes.

The election winner faces the task of putting Zimbabwe back on track after 37 years of Mugabe rule tainted by corruption, mismanagement and diplomatic isolation that caused a crisis in a country that once had one of Africa’s most promising economies.

A credible vote is essential if Zimbabwe is to exit painful sanctions and secure the donor funding and investment needed to stem chronic cash shortages.