MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has deleted a tweet in which he claims ‘resounding’ victory in the presidential election, after deadly violence rudely disturbed a calm pre-poll environment.
Chamisa’s pre-dawn Tuesday tweet was posted as early unofficial returns, mostly from Harare, other urban centres and some rural business centres, showed him beating the incumbent, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
However, the tide appeared to turn as the day progressed, with results from the parliamentary vote, held concurrently with the presidential election, showed Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF winning easily. The ruling party has won 145 seats out of the total 210, achieving a two-thirds majority.
It was not immediately clear when or why the tweet was taken down. It was also not clear why other tweets in which Chamisa claims victory have not been deleted.
The early optimism shown by Chamisa and his supporters has since turned to anger and frustration, which boiled over into deadly protests that left three people dead in Harare on Wednesday, after soldiers opened fire on the protesters.
Before the violence, Chamisa had sent out another tweet, this time accusing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of plotting to steal his victory.
Mnangagwa has accused Chamisa and his fellow opposition leaders of inciting violence.
Election observer groups still in the country as violence erupted, have criticised both the government, for its heavy-handed reaction, and the opposition, for inflammatory statements which incited their supporters.
On Tuesday, Chamisa’s alliance partner Tendai Biti declared the 40 year old as the winner of the presidential election, before claiming that the two of them were targeted for assassination.
Throughout the campaign, Chamisa accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of colluding with ZANU-PF and Mnangagwa, and routinely declared that he would not accept an outcome that was short of victory.