(dpa) - The counting of votes in Zimbabwe's elections, in which President Robert Mugabe is battling to retain power, continued Sunday with Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) already claiming victory in both polls.
"We have won this election," Tendai Biti, secretary-general of the largest faction of the divided MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai said. "But they (the government) still might steal it."
Mugabe, who declared himself confident of another five years to add to his 28 years in power Saturday, has vowed there will be no cheating, despite warning in recent weeks the opposition would "never" govern Zimbabwe.
He also said a runoff vote "won't be necessary" while recognizing it was a constitutional requirement if he fails to take more than 50 per cent of the vote.
Saturday's voting in synchronized presidential, assembly, senate and local council elections was mostly peaceful apart from a bomb blast at the home of a Zanu-PF parliamentary candidate in the second city Bulawayo, in which no-one was injured.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has not yet released any results nor given a figure for turnout. But results are being posted on the doors of individual polling stations, before being sent to the national election centre in Harare to be collated.
Based on these unofficial results, Tsvangirai's MDC faction claimed a clean sweep in the capital Harare - an MDC stronghold - and, more significantly, a strong showing in rural, Shona-speaking areas that were previously ruling Zanu-PF strongholds.
In Bulawayo, another MDC stronghold, early results showed Tsvangirai's MDC faction also appearing to have made a near clean sweep, a candidate for a smaller, rival MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
"All my colleagues have done disastrously. It's quite shocking," David Coltart, a candidate for senator, whom unofficial results showed winning his seat, said.
In the presidential vote, however, former finance minister and ex-ruling Zanu-PF politburo member, Simba Makoni, appeared to have taken votes from Tsvangirai in Bulawayo, according to Coltart.
Tsvangirai's MDC faction is rushing to announce results before the ZEC to stave off what it fears will be attempts by the election apparatus at rigging in Mugabe's favour.
The move was likely to anger Zimbabwe's security forces, who warned Thursday they would not tolerate any unilateral victory claims by the opposition.
Police on Friday raided MDC offices at a hotel in Harare, where party members were collating results, but took nothing.
Some 5.9 million voters were listed as registered to vote in the polls, seen as a vote mainly on the economic chaos wrought by Mugabe's populist policies that have resulted in six-figure inflation and widespread food, fuel and drug shortages.
But the voters' roll is in a shambles leading the MDC to estimate the real number of eligible voters at closer to 3.5 million.
The MDC has already cried foul over several irregularities in the election, including the inclusion on the voters roll of many people, the presence of police stations in polling stations.
Mugabe had issued a last-minute decree allowing police into polling stations "to help" voters.
Western observers were banned from monitoring the election. Regional and African Union observer teams have yet to issue their reports but the Pan-African Parliament observer team has already complained about the 8,450 voters registered on a patch of deserted land in Harare.