Zimbabwe election officials charged with ‘deflating Mugabe vote’

April 8th, 2008 - 2:38 pm ICT by admin  

Johannesburg/Harare, April 8 (DPA) Seven employees of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission were due to appear in court on charges of fraud and criminal abuse of duty for allegedly deflating the vote of President Robert Mugabe in recent presidential elections. The seven are accused of deliberately underestimating the 84-year-old leader’s tally in the March 29 elections by around 5,000 votes, South African radio Tuesday quoted a police spokesman as saying.

Ten days after the election, the commission has yet to announce the results.

The high court in Harare was due to rule Tuesday on an urgent application by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change of Morgan Tsvangirai for a court order forcing the commission to release the numbers.

Tsvangirai has claimed outright victory with 50.3 per cent of the vote but an independent electoral observation group said a sample of results showed neither he nor Mugabe would likely win the election outright. In that case the election would go to a second round.

Mugabe, in office since 1980, is already campaigning for a second round, telling Zimbabweans to defend their land against white “former colonizers.”

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