Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Alleges Widespread Voter Fraud

Zimbabwe's opposition has described this week's presidential election as a "massive fraud." Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, alleged widespread voter fraud. The ruling party, in an unauthorized tweet, claimed overwhelming victory but quickly withdrew the message.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Let's hear now about Zimbabwe's election. People voted Wednesday and the results are just starting to be published. What seemed like a hopeful moment has quickly turned into something more contentious. The election is already being disputed by President Robert Mugabe's opponents. Here's NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton from the capital, Harare.

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: Reactions to the elections here in Zimbabwe are totally contradictory. Prime Minister Morgan Tzangerai, the main opposition presidential candidate, who's been in a coalition cabinet with 89-year-old President Mugabe for the past four years, says the vote is null and void.

PRIME MINISTER MORGAN TZANGERAI: It is a sham election that does not reflect the will of the people.

QUIST-ARCTON: But Mugabe's party says this is nonsense. Senior Zanu-PF official Paul Mangwana says it's simply sour grapes for Tzangerai.

PAUL MANGWANA: Whenever he thinks that the tide is against him, he claims irregularities, he claims victimization and all sorts of things.

QUIST-ARCTON: Today, the head of the African Union observer delegation has given the Zimbabwean vote a thumbs-up. But Irene Petrus, from the largest local election observer group, says the process was anything but free and fair.

IRENE PETRUS: The credibility of the 2013 harmonized elections is seriously compromised by a systematic effort to disenfranchise urban voters.

QUIST-ARCTON: The electoral commission has until Monday to declare the results, but with the outcome already being disputed, Zimbabweans fear more political deadlock and a possible return to the deadly violence they witnessed after the first round of voting five years ago. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Harare.

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