When Zanu PF wins, it wins big – 10, 11 and even 13 thousand in some cases. . aside from exceptions like Budiriro and Warren Park. When the MDC wins, it is winning by much smaller margins, and even more worryingly, on the back of far, far lower voter turn out figures.
Zanu PF has long trumpeted its rural strongholds, and the MDC knows how difficult it is to campaign freely in rural spaces. These areas are often tightly controlled by (Zanu PF) chiefs and headmen, and there are high levels of intimidation and pressure on individual voters to toe the ruling party line. These are facts long known and commented on by the MDC and civil society actors, and are one of the key reasons why promises that Saturday’s elections would be free and fair are so laughable.
There are also more voters registered in rural areas than there are in urban centres.
Given these facts, and with a presidential election at stake, not just parliamentary seats, the MDC needs to be claiming bigger victories based on high voter turn out. They need to be seeing more voters coming out to support them in the cities than those supporting Zanu PF in the rural areas – not fewer as is now the case. Zanu PF is getting high turnout particularly in constituencies like Maramba Pfungwe and Rushinga where Zanu PF polled 14,961 and 14,264 votes respectively. Constituencies where voter turn out is far greater than the 40% average – like Maramba Pfungwe (56.91%) and Mutoko South (54.24%) – is where the MDC should focus on challenging the announced results, using their parallel vote cont.
As it stands, based on our own tally of results, Zanu PF has the largest number of votes of any party, but the combined other contesters outstrip Zanu PF.
These results have been recorded by hand off the ZEC announcements, and then transposed onto a spreadsheet, so some errors may have been made along the way, but it looks something like this:
- Total votes cast: 1,184,723
- Zanu PF: 555,189
- MDC (Tsvangirai): 492,346
- MDC (Mutambara): 94,560
- Combined Independents/Other parties: 42,628
So Zanu PF is ahead. But if you add up all non-Zanu PF votes, they donâ€™t look quite so comfortably positioned:
- Zanu PF: 555,189 (46.9% of votes cast)
- Total non-Zanu PF votes: 629,534 (53.1%)
In other words, at least at a House of Assembly level, with 109 of 209 constituencies reported (one constituency was uncontested, and was declared for Zanu PF without an election), Zanu PF has more votes than any party, but not an absolute majority of votes cast.
If this trend continues for the balance of the seats, and extends to the Presidential election, we could very well be looking at a run off, if not an opposition election victory in the first round.