Zimbabwe Elections: Tsvangirai Tops Mugabe; Vote Heads To Runoff

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[Zimbabwe Elections: Black Star News Exclusive]



No clear presidential winner will emerge out of the March 29 Zimbabwe vote and political analysts now point to a re-run in three weeks time.

Although no results have been released for the presidential poll, sources within the ruling Zanu-PF party say Morgan Tsvangirai will garner 48.3 percent, less than three percent short of the required 51 percent majority against President Robert Mugabe's 43 percent.

Former finance minister Simba Makoni is expected to take the remaining eight percent.

Economic hardships characterized by hyper inflation estimated at more than 100, 000 percent, food, fuel, drug and water shortages have worked against the veteran Zimbabwe politician, Robert Mugabe.

Some ruling Zanu PF heavy weights have also lost their seats as the MDC Tsvangirai faction made inroads into the rural strongholds of the ruling party.

Analysts also project that Zanu PF will get 98 seats and MDC 98 seats while the remainder will go to independents and the MDC breakaway party. This means that there will be no party with a clear majority as vote counting enters its final stages.

The independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) sees Tsvangirai taking 49.4 percent and Mugabe 41.8 percent with Makoni getting a mere 8.2.

Two weeks ago the Mass Public Opinion Institute survey showed that Tsvangirai was leading by 28.3 percent, Mugabe 20,3 percent and Makoni 8.6 percent and a further 30 percent were undecided.

MPOI head political scientist Prof. Eldred Masunungure said the main message from the poll was that none of the presidential election candidates would win an outright majority unless there was vote rigging.

Rival analysts dismissed MPOI findings as unscientific.

A survey by Dr. Joseph Kurebwa of the University of Zimbabwe Political Science and Administration department projected that Mugabe would win by between
56 to 57 percent, Tsvangirai between 26 and 27 percent while Makoni would only manage 13-14 percent.

The survey also predicted a 137 seat win for Zanu PF, 41 senate seats and MDC 53 seats and 13 senate seats. The other MDC faction led by rocket scientist Arthur Mutambara would secure six and 18 seats in the Senate and House of Assembly elections respectively.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Tuesday called on the Zimbabwe Election Commission to immediately publish the results, saying the democratic
rights of Zimbabweans must be upheld.

"The eyes of the world---- will be upon Zimbabwe so that the doubts that people have and the questions people have can be answered," Brown said.

Mugabe blames Britain, the US and its allies for imposing punitive sanctions and for pushing for regime change for alleged human rights abuses as the prime cause of the economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

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