(Reuters) - A senior source in Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's party claimed a resounding victory in Wednesday's parliamentary and presidential election against Prime Minster Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
"We've taken this election. We've buried the MDC. We never had any doubt that we were going to win," the source, who could not be named, told Reuters by phone on Thursday.
Releasing results early in Zimbabwe is illegal, and police have said they will arrest anybody who makes premature claims about the result.
Zimbabweans have today gone to polls to elect a president and parliament representatives.
The election will mark the end of the troubled coalition government between veteran President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.As Zanu-PF leader Mugabe seeks to extend his 33-year rule,he is ready to surrender power ,though he is also sure of victory.
Mugabe ,89, told a televised press briefing attended by dozens of local and international journalists at State House on Tuesday that he would follow the country's laws in the event of a poll set back.
<p><strong><img src="/images/DSCN46891%201.JPG" style="margin-right: 5px; border: 1px solid #000000; float: left;" height="244" width="306" /><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Introduction</span></strong></p>
<li>• CCEDU sent a team of four to Zimbabwe on 24th July to observe and learn from the key elements of the electoral cycle of Zimbabwe's Harmonised Elections scheduled for July 31, 2013. The CCEDU team will remain in Zimbabwe through 3rd August, 2013 and comprises of:</li>
<p style="margin-left: 60px;">1. Gwada Ogot;<br />2. Davidson Serunjogi;<br />3. Charles Mwanguhya; and<br />4. Christine Nakirya.</p>
<li>• The team has met with interlocutors at national, provincial and district levels, including senior government officials, representatives of political parties, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), senior officers of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), representatives from civic organisations, media and women's groups. The statement below provides a brief on electoral components such as: voter registration, campaigning, special voting and the general electoral environment in the pre-election phase of the process.<hr id="system-readmore" /></li>
<p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Executive summary</strong></span></p>
<li style="text-align: justify;">Following the contested elections of 2008, the Republic of Zimbabwe has undertaken a number of electoral and constitutional changes, including the enactment of a new constitution in May 2013, to replace the 1980 Lancaster House Constitution. The new Constitution upholds principles of conducting regular elections and also introduces a cap of two terms (five years each) on the tenure of a president. Many stakeholders attribute the better political environment to the newly adopted Constitution.<br /><br /></li>
<li style="text-align: justify;">There is increased restriction on activities and movements of civic society organisations and groups reported in most of the Zimbabwe provinces including, Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland East Provinces. The women and youth coalitions in Zimbabwe especially in Matebeleland and Mashonaland provinces are reporting undue restriction on their movement and activities. Major civil society stakeholders like, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), Election Resource Centre and the Teacher's Union in many of the ten provinces have reported refusal by police to grant them permission to hold meetings and other civic activities.<br /><br /></li>
<li style="text-align: justify;">There is increasing evidence of structural and psychological violence in many urban areas in Zimbabwe. A number of unmarked vehicles seen are seen in both the urban and the rural areas in Zimbabwe. The vehicles are said to be used by intelligence officers who trail and at times kidnap those who hold strong dissenting political opinions. These cars invoke memories of the 2008 Zimbabwe.<br /><br /></li>
<li style="text-align: justify;"> Although many stakeholders were pessimistic that the special voting for the security forces and other civil servants was a game changer, the vote conducted on 14th and 15th July turned out to be a logistical nightmare. Most polling stations around Zimbabwe did not receive the ballot material until later in the second day of voting. The fact that these votes will not be counted until 31 July, the logistics around transporting the materials and votes through government system over a period of time and the security of the votes all raise a lot of suspicion from stakeholders.<br /><br /></li>
<li style="text-align: justify;">Voter education has remained unsatisfactory. Most of the voter materials have been produced in English. The primary methodology of conducting voter education in Zimbabwe is door-to-door; two voter educators have to cover 20 square kms and address at least 1,000 households. This has turned out to be an impractical methodology; three days to the poll, some people in the urban areas confirm that they are not aware of the polling day – 31st July.</li>
<p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Political Environment:</strong></span></p>
<li style="text-align: justify;">In comparison to 2008, many stakeholders in Zimbabwe consider the political environment 'suspiciously calm'. Three days to elections, campaign material is not visibly displayed in many urban areas and many of the political activities seen in previous elections have not taken place this time round; this is more or less seen as a political anomaly. This has left the electorate wondering what, this time around, are the political strategies of many political parties.<br /><br /></li>
<li style="text-align: justify;">There are instances of vote buying using food and mobile phones. In one of the South East districts of Zaka, a traditional Chief, was seen distributing what beneficiary called 'ZANU-PF food'- rice, maize flour and other accessories to his subjects who are loyalists. Many stakeholders who represent varying political opinions have expressed concern over what most of them term as 'open bribery'. What is intriguing is the fact that these operations have been supervised by police officers - assisting with security and logistics.<br /><br /></li>
<li style="text-align: justify;">Insufficient information and polarised information sharing is fuelling huge rumour mills generally in Zimbabwe. This has given rise to all theories and schemes to rig elections. The key concern is that these rumours could provide a ready fuel for violence if election results go either way. Stakeholders talk of inflated police force numbers as a strategy to rig elections, the distribution of polling stations as a strategy and almost everything is either a strategy or a scheme to rig depending on who is saying what.</li>
<p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Voter registration:</strong></span></p>
<li style="text-align: justify;">The voter registration process that begun on the 10th of June through 9th July, 2013 was generally slow in pace. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has estimated that 6.4 million people were registered. Many of the people who turned up to register on the last day were unsuccessful because the registration centres across the country could not ably handle the huge numbers.</li>
<p><strong>Participation of women/national minorities:</strong></p>
<li style="text-align: justify;">Women are fully participating in the electoral process and pushing different gender sensitive policies across political parties. In its recent electoral reforms, Zimbabwe introduced a quota system which has been widely viewed to provide political platforms to women to get into parliament. The quota system provides 60 automatic seats for women in parliament and two seats in senate. Parliament is made up of 210 seats.<br /><br /></li>
<li style="text-align: justify;">There is observable very high level of participation by youth in the electoral process. From mobilising peers to register, to peer-to-peer voter education and running as candidates.</li>
<p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong>Polling stations and Poll Observation:</strong></span></p>
<li style="text-align: justify;">Zimbabwe has a total of 9670 polling stations nationwide. Election observation will primarily be a responsibility of local observer groups like Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) as well as foreign observers like SADC and the AU.</li>
<p>Compiled: 28th July, 2013</p>
A report compiled by Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) indicates that there are high prospects for violence in the Butebo constituency by-election.
“From interactions and discussions with a sample of voters, the prospect of violence is real in the Butebo bye-election. The locals attribute this to the rising ethnic tensions especially between the Bagwere and the Itesot in Butebo,” CCEDU stated in its report released Wednesday.
The report also states that there are so many intransigent youth who have negatively impacted the campaign process by refusing to give space to contestants to air their views during the meet-the-people tours and rallies.
“As a result, there is worry of the possibility of a low voter turnout as well as the prospect that the election may be determined by other reasons apart from merit and policy,” CCEDU explained.
The Electoral Commission concluded the nomination exercise for the candidates running for the Butebo constituency parliamentary seat on Tuesday during which seven candidates were successfully nominated. The seat fell vacant after the death of disaster preparedness minister Stephen Mallinga
The privately owned paper was closed after publishing a letter alleging that President Yoweri Museveni was grooming his son to succeed him.
The letter, purporting to be from an army general, said those who opposed this risked assassination.
A government statement said the newspaper's owners "highly regretted the story".
Two radio stations linked to the Daily Monitor, KFM and Dembe Radio were also taken off air.
Staff at the newspaper have said the police, who had been occupying the premises in the capital, Kampala, for the last 11 days, have begun to open up the offices.
"Latest information indicates that some Monitor staff members have accessed the reception of the premises as police prepare to open other sections of the building," the newspaper published on its website.
The BBC's Ignatius Bahizi in Kampala says The Red Pepper newspaper, which was also shut down for reporting the allegations, remains closed.
Mr Museveni has been in power since 1986, and elections are due in 2016.