Zimbabwe election victory for Mugabe

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Friday, April 1, 2005

President Robert Mugabe
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Amid claims of rigging by the opposition party, news reports today from the Zimbabwe capital city of Harare, say current President Robert Mugabe has again clinched a party victory in this round of national elections.

This national election bears similarity to the 2000 election when allegations that Mugabe's dominant political party, the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), used its position in power to steal the election were widespread. Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who after that election appealed to the nation's courts for justice, appears ready this time to take the argument to the street, possibly sparking violent protests and unrest. The leader urged, "Zimbabweans must defend their right to vote and they must defend their vote."

Past MDC street protests were met violently by Mugabe's regime, and the court system in Zimbabwe is seen as largely supportive of the Zanu-PF agenda.

The Zanu-PF took 55 of the 120 seats in the Zimbabwe Parliament. The MDC took 34 seats. The MDC had received strong support during pre-election rallies and had hoped to gain enough new seats to gain a legislative majority in the parliament. Mugabe, now 81, will appoint another 30 seats, which will ensure his party a majority.

Tsvangirai cites the area of Manyame located near the capital as an example of election rigging. Mugabe's nephew, Patrick Zhawao, the ruling party candidate was declared winner. On Thursday night election officials reported 14,812 votes were counted. Then early Friday morning, the total vote count was reported at 24,000, with Zhawao getting more than 15,000 of the vote.

The over-night voting count inconsistency led him to charge, "The government has fraudulently, once again, betrayed the people," he told reporters at a news briefing.