Harare - Zimbabwe's election was credible and fair, the
chief of the African Union observer mission said Friday, but the bloc's report
noted some problems with the voters’ roll and of people being turned away from
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF appeared confident of a
sweeping victory, while the rival Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said the "sham" polls would
plunge the country into crisis.
"We are very happy this morning. We are very confident
and excited. We think there is a sense of victory for us," Zanu-PF spokesperson
Rugare Gumbo said.
He said the party expected to get between 130 and 140 seats
in the 210-member parliament.
Results from about 30% of seats in parliament showed Zanu-PF
taking a strong early lead, with 52 to the MDC's 10.
Mugabe's party managed to wrest control of some urban
constituencies previously held by the rival MDC.
The final results of Wednesday's election must be announced
Local elections observers noted there were serious problems
with the voters’ roll in urban areas - long considered MDC strongholds.
Tsvangirai has declared the elections to be "null and
void" because of allegations of vote rigging.
Zanu-PF insists the polls were conducted in a "free and
fair" manner, as does the Zimbabwe Election Commission.
In the 2008 election that was marred by violence, Tsvangirai
won the first round but did not get enough votes to avoid a run-off. Widespread
intimidation, including the deaths of some 200 of his supporters, forced him to
pull out of the runoff.
The presidential poll results are only expected in the
coming days. If no candidate gets at least 50% of the vote, a second round will
be held September 11.
The 89-year-old Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since 1980, has
vowed to step down if he loses.
Africa's oldest head of state presided over a decade-long
economic collapse, in part blamed on his policy of grabbing white-owned farms
without compensation and fuelling hyper inflation.