If you ask most Zimbabweans the institution they trust the least, they will probably pinpoint the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission. The country's electoral body has been accused of partiality, seemingly in ZANU-PF's corner. As the results are being announced, there is hope, deflation and uncertainty.
The election was largely conducted in a free and fair manner, except for a few areas where there was a modicum of disorganization. The biggest issue is the waiting of results, which is now taking long. There are all sorts of feelings in Zimbabwe, the urban folks think their rural counterparts have let them down, and that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is rigging results.
ZANU-PF, the liberation movement party that has been in control of Zimbabwe since the country's independence in 1980, has its influence deeply entrenched in rural areas. In these areas, the major opposition party, MDC (now MDC Alliance) has failed to perform well since its formation in 1999. With this election, there has been some hope that the MDC Alliance will fare better. But as the first batch of results came, with ZANU-PF winning six out of seven constituencies announced, the majority being rural areas, the feelings are now mixed.
A set of results from the urban areas seen by The African Exponent had given Nelson Chamisa, the opposition leader for the MDC Alliance, massive wins in those areas. The rural votes, on the other hand, are seemingly in the favour of ZANU-PF, and reveal that ZANU-PF still has control over these areas, and in the event that they win the election, they would thank the rural people.
There is a feeling of hope in that Zimbabwe is divided into 210 constituencies for Parliamentary seats, and as more results will be announced, the opposition will cover some ground. A ZANU-PF majority in Parliament is something that many Zimbabweans detest, especially those from the urban areas, because ZANU-PF has a penchant for pushing forward some unfavorable laws and policies. There is deflation because the results from rural areas are giving ZANU-PF a big advantage. In a rural constituency called Mudzi North, ZANU-PF had 14, 775 votes while the MDC Alliance had 2, 753. Such massive disparities have caused deflation in others.
The uncertainty revolves around the question on why the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission is delaying with results. The chairperson of the electoral body, Justice Priscilla Chigumba, asked the nation to have patience because the country holds harmonized elections - which means presidential, parliamentary and local authority elections are held on the same day - and she says the results are a lot to process. This is now raising more suspicion, that something could probably be happening to the results. Zimbabweans have been subjected to years of electoral malpractice, manipulation and rigging (2008 elections are an evidence of this clearly).
For the presidential results, the electoral commission is obliged by the law in Zimbabwe to announce them by Saturday. Justice Priscilla Chigumba said that the electoral commission will uphold this. The uncertainty however, still continues. What Zimbabwe probably needs is a system of conducting elections such that results are announced quickly.
As the nation patiently awaits for more results, a conflation of hope, deflation and uncertainty is reigning supreme. And this is fact - Zimbabwe is afflicted with a myriad of economic, social and political problems, and they just want an end to that. Will the ballot deliver this?
Header image credit: Express UK (Getty Images)