Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Alleges Widespread Voter Fraud
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.