Zimbabwe’s opposition party claimed an overwhelming victory against President Robert Mugabe in yesterday’s presidential election. The Movement for Democratic Change(MDC) says its candidate Morgan Tsvangaini had “massacred” the ruling Zanu-PF party. The MDC defied a government ban on pre-empting the official anouncement of election results by releasing its own figures. Tendai Biti, secretary general of MDC said: “We’ve won the election. The resuts coming in show that in our traditional strongholds we are massacring them. In Mugabe’s traditional stronghold they are doing very badly. There is no way Mugabe can claim victory unless it is through fraud. He has lost this election.”
Results from rural Zimbabwe which traditionally have been the base of Mugabe are reportedly casting about fifty percent of their votes for the MDC. The MDC decided to make an early release of votes in order to make clear to the world they have won. They expect Mugabe may delay releasing vote counts in order to engage in some doctoring of figures. The MDC was warned by Zimbabwe’s police chief not to make an early release and also warned against any victory demonstrations. The MDC had earlier in the day expressed concern over the fairness of voting, but is now encouraged by the massive support from the Zimbabwe population.