Nelson Chamisa, 40 and 75-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa were the main contenders in Monday's election, the first since long-ruling Robert Mugabe was removed in a bloodless coup in November.
Armen Georgian, an International Affairs Editor, warned armed forces veterans who remember the “struggle for independence” are likely to not have confidence in the younger candidate.
He said: “When we talk about these transitions one thing that always comes up is the role of the army.
“When we talk about Cuba, for example, how far will the military allow market liberalisation to actually happen because at some point the interests of the military could be threatened if there is genuine economic competition.
“This template can be applied to Zimbabwe because at the moment we have two parties who have been running on broadly pro market platforms in order to bring international investment back in.
“But what will entrenched interests actually do will some senior military interests aid or hinder that process.
“From the military’s point of view Emmerson Mnangagwa is a character that resonates because he’s from that era of the struggle for Zimbabwe’s independence.
“Certain military people will feel very confident with him.
Zimbabwe election: Chamisa has ‘no doubt of election victory’
For Chamisa if he wins it is obviously going to be tricky
“For Chamisa if he wins it is obviously going to be tricky because some military officers still can’t conceive of Zimbabwe being led by someone who isn’t a veteran of that struggle for independence.”
A political analyst, speaking on France24, argued the support of Robert Mugabe means opposition candidate Mr Chamisa could anger younger, educated people living in urban areas.
He said: “In some rural areas of Zimbabwe Mugabe still holds a lot of sway, there are many who still look to him very much as the liberation war hero and these voters could be swayed by Mugabe’s statement.
“On the other hand Chamisa is playing a pretty dangerous game here because a lot of natural opposition supporters especially young educated people living in urban areas will be very suspicious of a deal that could see Mugabe return to a position of political in influence.
Zimbabwe election: An analyst fears the army could decide the election (Image: GETTY • France24)
“In particular that could see his wife Grace Mugabe return into the political landscape.”
Prior to the election in his first major statement since being ousted by the military last November, Mr Mugabe said: “I cannot vote for the party or those in power who caused me to be in this condition. I cannot vote for them, I can’t.
“Chamisa seems to be doing well at his rallies. I wish to meet him if he wins. Whoever wins, we wish him well. And let us accept the verdict.”
Nelson Chamisa says he is awaiting Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to officially announce the election results.
Mr Chamisa said in a tweet: “Winning resoundingly. We now have results from the majority of the over 10,000 polling stations.
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“We’ve done exceedingly well.
“Awaiting ZEC to perform their constitutional duty to officially announce the people’s election results and we are ready to form the next government.”
If he wins then it will be a democratic watershed for the south African country that will boot Robert Mugabe’s former party, ZANU–PF, out of office for the first time since Zimbabwe became independent.
Mr Chamisa’s opposition for the Presidential position tweeted a message with a similar theme which hints the election decision has a long way to go before it is concluded.
Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Tuesday that the ruling party was receiving "extremely positive" information from their representatives, a day after the first election since Robert Mugabe resigned following a bloodless coup.
Mr Mnangagwa said on Twitter that he was delighted by the high voter turnout, which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission put at 75 percent.