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Zimbabweans start to count votes

The BBC reported Saturday vote counting has begun in Zimbabwe after an election took place to see if President Robert Mugabe will win a sixth term in office.

Mugabe is going up against rivals Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change Party and his former finance minister and independent Simba Makoni.

The MDC Party announced that early poll results showed that Tsvangirai had won, but did not give any figures.

“We have won this election,? Secretary General Tendai Biti said. “This trend is irreversible.? (BBC)

Full results, however, will not be announced for another day or two because the process was complicated this year, BBC Southern Africa correspondent Peter Biles said.

Across the country, voters were not allowed to cast votes because their names were not registered or they were trying to vote in the wrong ward.

In addition, some party leaders are afraid that the opposition will rig results or force illiterate voters to vote for a specific party.

The New York Times reported many Zimbabweans want to oust President Mugabe.

“People want him gone, finally gone, finally and forever gone,? Charles Musonza, an out-of-work tailor, said. “Zimbabwe has been ruined by Mugabe. There is no future if he wins.? (New York Times)

One problem facing Zimbabwe is an inflation rate of more than 100,000 percent, forcing people to carry heavy bricks of cash. A soft drink can cost around 30 million Zimbabwean dollars, a chicken $200 million and a tank of gas around $1.8 billion.

At a news conference Thursday, the two opposition candidates to Mugabe said they are concerned of what they call ghost voters. These are voters that they say vote for Mugabe even though they are deceased.

Mugabe, though, has denied the allegations and said he does not rig elections.

In order to win the presidency, a candidate must receive a majority vote. If that does not transpire, the top two vote-getters meet in a runoff three weeks from now.