President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has cemented its grip on power.
The Star (South Africa)
November 29, 2005
Harare: President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has cemented its grip on power.
Zanu-PF won an overwhelming majority in elections for a new Senate amid bitter, potentially irreconcilable divisions within Zimbabwe’s opposition.
With results from all but two of the 31 voting districts announced yesterday, the ruling party had won 23 seats. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change had captured six, state radio reported.
Voting tallies from the remaining two districts were delayed by heavy rains, preventing returns reaching regional centres. The results showed that Zanu-PF would control at least 58 out of 66 seats in the Senate, which was established by a constitutional amendment pushed through by Mugabe earlier this year.
Ruling-party candidates were unopposed for 19 of the Senate’s 50 elected seats. Mugabe will appoint six other seats and 10 are reserved for traditional leaders, selected by the fiercely pro-government Council of Chiefs.
The election was marked by a record low turnout, blamed on voter apathy and the deep divisions in the opposition.
Independent monitors predicted that an overall average turnout for the 31 contested seats across the country was between 15 and 20%, the lowest in any national poll since independence in 1980.