INDEPENDENT poll watchdog, Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has dented claims by MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa that Zanu PF could have stolen the presidential election, saying results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) were consistent with their own projections.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

In its presidential results projection from a sample-based observation (SBO) report, Zesn had projected that Zanu PF’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa would win by between 48,7% and 52,7%.

Zec yesterday declared Mnangagwa presidential winner with 50,8% of the votes, just enough to scrap through the constitutional threshold of 50% plus one vote required to avoid a run-off.

Chamisa, according to Zec, got 2 147 436 votes representing 44,3% of the votes cast. “Zec’s announced official results are consistent with the SBO projections. The percent vote for each candidate as officially announced by the Zec falls within the SBO estimated ranges. Because the SBO estimated range for the leading candidate falls above and below 50%, the SBO cannot definitively confirm whether or not there should have been a runoff,” Zesn said in a statement.

The poll watchdog said voter turnout was as high as 84% while some polling stations recorded a total of 100% turnout, making the polls historic.

“The SBO data shows overall turnout at 84.7%, with a margin of error of +/-0,7%, with all provinces with turnout over 80%. There were 11 (1,5%) polling stations with turnout over 95% of which 5 (0,8%) had turnout of 100% or more,” Zesn said.

Assisted voters in rural Zimbabwe remained high according to Zesn, especially in areas that Zanu PF recorded victory by huge margins.

“At 45% of polling stations many voters (26 or more) were assisted to vote. This was particularly prevalent in Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Masvingo, Matabeleland North, and Matabeleland South provinces,” the report read.

Prior to the polls, Chamisa had raised a red flag over a number of irregularities, including a flawed electoral roll, ballot paper malpractice, voter intimidation, bias in the electoral commission and handouts to voters from the ruling party.

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