Monday, April 14, 2008


The contents of Zimbabwe's ballot boxes are still a matter of dispute.A judge in Zimbabwe is due to rule on whether the country's electoral commission should be forced to release the presidential election results.
Southern African leaders have urged authorities to announce the results of the poll, held more than two weeks ago.
The opposition MDC party, which says it won the vote fairly, believes the government wants to rig the outcome.
But there could be a further delay as the government has ordered votes in certain constituencies to be recounted.
"They had custody of the ballot boxes for two weeks and they must have stuffed them with their votes," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.
Zimbabwean government spokesman Bright Matonga said: "There is a court process that we follow. What we are doing is within the law."

The MDC says its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the presidential election outright, beating President Robert Mugabe. Independent tallies suggested Mr Tsvangirai won, but took less than 50% of the vote, meaning he would have to face a run-off.
But there has been no official announcement, and the MDC has petitioned the High Court to force the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release the figures.
The judge considering the case, Tendai Uchena, said last week he hoped to make a ruling on Monday.
However, the ZEC says it is going ahead next Saturday with a recount of presidential and parliamentary results in 23 constituencies where it claims there have been irregularities.
The recount in 22 seats was requested by the ruling Zanu-PF party. A recount in one constituency requested by the MDC will also take place.
The parliamentary election saw Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF lose its majority.
But the majority could be recovered if Zanu-PF is awarded just nine of the 23 seats subject to a recount.

The speaker of the South African parliament, Baleka Mbete, has denounced the failure to publish the results of the presidential election as a case of "democracy gone wrong".
"As parliamentarians we cannot remain silent when we witness sufferings and violation of human rights. We can also not remain silent about the situation in Zimbabwe," she said.

President Mugabe has held power since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980.
Miss Mbete is a political ally of Jacob Zuma, who is tipped to succeed Thabo Mbeki as South African president, and who last week himself criticised the delays in Zimbabwe.
Mr Mbeki has been accused of failing to exert enough pressure on Mr Mugabe.
After a summit of southern African leaders at the weekend, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) called for the election results to be announced speedily.
But it did not urge Mr Mugabe to step aside, as the MDC had wished.
MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti described the summit outcome as a "major improvement".
But he called on Mr Mbeki to show "more vigour, more openness and a complete abandonment of the policy of quiet diplomacy".
Under President Mugabe, a drawn-out economic collapse in Zimbabwe has seen hyper-inflation, massive unemployment and the departure of hundreds of thousands of people.



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