Observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have described the Zimbabwe elections as "free and peaceful" and called on MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to accept the result.
No results of the presidential vote on July 31 have been announced. But Mugabe's Zanu PF has already claimed a resounding win and interim tallies of the parliamentary count suggest a massive victory for the 89-year-old.
“Whoever is aggrieved with the results, should not resort to violence, but rather should go to the court of law, or engage in dialogue. On behalf of the Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and on behalf of the entire SADC family, I wish to sincerely congratulate ZEC and the people of Zimbabwe for holding free and peaceful harmonised elections on 31 July 2013,” read a SADC statement issued this afternoon by Bernard Kamillius Membe, Head of the SADC Election Observation Mission to Zimbabwe and also Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs Minister.
While the African Union's monitoring mission chief has called Wednesday's peaceful polls generally "free and fair" - Western observers were kept out by Harare - domestic monitors have described them as "seriously compromised" by registration flaws that may have disenfranchised up to a million people.
Tsvangirai, who faces political annihilation in his third attempt to oust Mugabe at the ballot box, has already denounced the election as a "huge farce" marked by polling day irregularities and intimidation by Zanu PF.
SADC deployed 573 observers to Zimbabwe, its largest continent ever.