Voting in Zimbabwe starts amid accusations of rigged outcome
Thursday, March 31, 2005
Elections in Zimbabwe began with both the ruling and opposition parties predicting victory.
Current president Robert Mugabe predicts a "mountainous victory" for his party, the (Zanu-PF). The main opposition — (MDC) claims the election is being rigged, and despite being allowed to freely campaign, the government's intimidation of voters and moves to hurt opposition supporters will prevent the MDC win.
The government recently withheld food aid from those supporting the MDC, according to a United Nations report. The UN further reports the government dismissed election officials and poll workers suspected of supporting MDC.
Criticism of the government has been loud. Last week, a Catholic archbishop in Zimbabwe urged followers to start a non-violent, popular uprising against Mugabe, and rallies have been common in recent days. The previous elections, which the MDC almost won, were marred by violence and similar allegations of vote-rigging.
More than 5.7 million Zimbabweans are registered to vote, and can cast their ballots at one of the more than 8,000 polling stations.
- "Zimbabwe's Mugabe: Vote for us or starve" — Wikinews, March 26, 2005
- "Zimbabwe church leader calls for uprising against Mugabe" — Wikinews, March 28, 2005
- Reuters. "Voting starts in Zimbabwe election" — , March 31, 2005
- "Mugabe seeks 'huge' poll victory" — , March 31, 2005
- "Zimbabwe: Over 1,000 "Pro-Opposition" Poll Officials Fired" — , March 30, 2005