Zimbabwe court to rule on election results
7 April 2008
JOHANNESBURG / HARARE – A court in Harare was due to decide Monday whether to force the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release results from 29 March presidential elections, in which President Robert Mugabe is fighting for his political survival.
The High Court in Harare was due to rule on an application by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Morgan Tsvangirai for a court order forcing ZEC to release the results, which are still unknown nine days after the election.
Tsvangirai has already claimed outright victory, saying he took 50.3 percent of the vote but Mugabe is already campaigning for a widely-predicted second round – called for if neither candidate takes more than 50 percent.
Addressing a funeral Sunday, Mugabe told Zimbabweans to safeguard their land from "former colonizers," the state-controlled Herald quoted him as saying.
The paper cited "reports that some white former commercial farmers were trooping back onto farms" from which they had been evicted – a claim a farmers’ union has rejected.
In scenes reminiscent of a violent 2000 land grab, war veterans loyal to Mugabe, who vowed last week to defend Zimbabwe’s "sovereignty," have already begun invading white-owned farms in the Masvingo area.
Tsvangirai claims Mugabe is preparing to wage "war" against his people to cling onto power.
In an opinion article in Britain’s Guardian newspaper Monday, Tsvangirai urged the International Monetary Fund to withhold EUR 1.3 billion (USD 2 billion) in funds for Zimbabwe’s reconstruction until Mugabe concedes defeat and called for South Africa, the US and Britain to intervene.
The MDC leader was in South Africa Monday for meetings but it was not clear with whom.
South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki has described the situation in Zimbabwe as "manageable" and told world leaders meeting at a banquet in London Sunday that Africa was ready to take charge of its own destiny.
Although the official presidential results have yet to be released, Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has already demanded a recount, claiming counting errors in four constituencies.
The MDC has rubbished as "illegal" Zanu-PF’s complaint, saying a recount must be done within 48 hours of the results being counted.
Zanu-PF has also announced it will challenge the MDC’s victory in the 210-seat House of Assembly (lower house of parliament), in which the MDC defeated Zanu-PF 109 seats to 97, on the basis that the MDC "bribed voters" in 16 constituencies.
[dpa / Expatica]