Monday, March 31, 2008

ZIMBABWE STANDS 'ON A PRECIPICE' !

Draft results were posted outside polling stations.
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 12 parliamentary seats so far. Mr Biti says the results are being rigged.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has lost his seat, east of Harare.
Local results have been posted outside most polling stations since Sunday morning.
Mr Biti says the MDC has won 96 of the 128 parliamentary seats, where it has calculated results. There are 210 constituencies.
But he said the ZEC was planning to announce that Mr Mugabe had won 52% of the vote - enough to avoid a run-off. Mr Mugabe has denied repeated MDC claims that he would rig the polls.
Bright Matonga from the ruling Zanu-PF party told the BBC he was confident that Mr Mugabe would be re-elected and Zanu-PF would retain its majority in parliament.
Riot police have been patrolling the capital, Harare, and other urban areas and residents have been told to stay indoors.
BBC contributors have been reporting from around the country.
In Harare, Zanu-PF security officials have met to decide who should tell Mr Mugabe he has lost, according to a senior party source.
People in Harare are worried that the results are being rigged.
In the southern town of Masvingo, MDC supporters have stopped celebrating since reports came in that Zanu-PF had won in areas initially believed to have gone to the opposition.
In the north-western town of Hwange, people are anxiously listening to their radios for results, with those unable to afford their own radio gathering around other people's sets; the groups disperse as soon as they see any police officers because of the law banning public gatherings of more than four people.
In the south-western city of Bulawayo, many people have stayed at home in fear of violence when the results are announced.
'Meticulous'
Presidential, House of Assembly, Senate and local elections were all held on Saturday, and election officials say that this is why results have been slow to come.

ELECTION RESULTS SO FAR
Parliamentary constituencies
MDC: 12
Zanu-PF: 12
Yet to declare: 186
Presidential results
None so far
Winner needs more than 50% to avoid run-off

"It's an absolute necessity that all results be meticulously analysed at this stage," George Chiweshe, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, said earlier.
But Noel Kututwa, the head of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, said: "The delay in announcing these results is fuelling speculation that there could be something going on."
Poll monitors from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said the elections had been "peaceful and credible".
But two SADC members from South Africa refused to sign a generally positive preliminary report of the mission, with one of them calling the polls "deeply flawed".
Western observers were banned from the election but a European Union spokesman urged the ZEC to announce the results to "avoid unnecessary speculation".
UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband says the after millions of Zimbabweans had voted "their voice must now be heard without delay".
A new monitoring group, the Independent Results Centre, backs up the MDC's claims of victory, saying Mr Tsvangirai has won 55% of the vote in the presidential race, against 37% for Mr Mugabe and 5% for independent candidate Simba Makoni.
'Coup d'etat'
Of the 24 seats declared so far, both parties have done well in their traditional strongholds - Zanu-PF in rural areas and the MDC in towns and cities.
But Zanu-PF has won one seat in Harare, while the MDC has gained four rural seats, including that of Mr Chinamasa.

HAVE YOUR SAY
This delay is getting people agitated, we are all wondering what is going on
Blessing, Harare
Send us your comments

The BBC's Grant Ferrett in Johannesburg says Mr Chinamasa has been an energetic and loyal supporter of Mr Mugabe, pushing through his land redistribution progamme in defiance of court rulings.
No results were posted outside polling stations in Mr Mugabe's home town of Zvimba, southwest of Harare - prompting speculation that Zanu-PF might have lost at least one parliamentary seat there, reports the AP news agency.
Government spokesman George Charamba has warned the MDC against claiming victory before official results are announced.
"It is called a coup d'etat and we all know how coups are handled."
After voting in Harare, Mr Mugabe, 84, who has been in power since 1980, said: "We don't rig elections. I cannot sleep with my conscience if I have rigged."
The MDC says it is fighting to save Zimbabwe's economy.
The country has the world's highest inflation rate, at more than 100,000%, and just one adult in five is believed to have a regular job.

Are you in Zimbabwe? Did you vote in Saturday's election? What happened in your constituency? Send us your comments and experiences using the form below or by text on +44 7786 20 50 85 - and let us know if you do not want your full name to be published.
BBC NEWS REPORT.

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