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Monday, March 31, 2008

Zimbabwe stands 'on a precipice'

HARARE - Zimbabwe is standing on a "precipice" as official results from Saturday's general election start to trickle in, the opposition has said.

Leading Movement for Democratic Change official Tendai Biti says party leader Morgan Tsvangirai has won 60% of the vote, against 30% for Robert Mugabe. Official results show both sides have 19 parliamentary seats so far. Mr Biti says the results are being rigged.

In a scene reminiscent of Kenya's December 27 election when the president's men met their comeuppance, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has lost his seat, east of Harare. Public Affairs Minister Chen Chimutengwende has also lost his seat in Mazowe, seen as a stronghold for President Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. Local results have been posted outside most polling stations since Sunday morning.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said his party had won 99 of the 210 parliamentary seats, against 96 for Zanu-PF and 15 for other opposition parties, based on his party's final figures. Biti said the electoral commission was planning to announce that Mugabe had won 52% of the vote - just enough to avoid a run-off. The MDC would not accept these results, he said.

Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga denied the polls would be rigged and said the president would accept defeat. "We don't expect to lose... It's going to be a very tight contest and if he loses, you have to accept," he said. Matonga also denied rumours that Mugabe had gone to Malaysia or was planning to impose a state of emergency. Riot police have been patrolling the capital, Harare, and other urban areas and residents have been told to stay indoors. A senior Zanu-PF source has intimated that security officials met on Sunday to decide who should tell Mugabe he had lost, with some refusing to take the job. In the southern town of Masvingo, MDC supporters have reportedly stopped celebrating since reports came in that Zanu-PF had won in areas initially believed to have gone to the opposition.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hope we do not have Ruto/Raila militia waiting to go on a ethnic cleansing spree of Mugabe supporters...