Mugabe vows Britain, MDC will never ’steal’ Zimbabwe

April 18th, 2008 - 9:08 pm ICT by admin  

Harare/Johannesburg, April 18 (DPA) In his first major address since last month’s disputed elections Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe vowed Friday that former colonial power Britain and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would never “steal” his country. Mugabe was addressing thousands of people attending a rally in a Harare stadium on the 28th anniversary of Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain.

“You want the British to come again? You saw what they did when they heard the MDC was winning. The whites in the UK started coming. It’ll never ever happen in this country,” the 84-year-old leader said.

“Down with the British. Down with thieves who want to steal our country,” Mugabe said.

Security was tight in Harare for the holiday, which was overshadowed by the uncertainty sparked by disputed March 29 presidential elections.

Nearly three weeks after the vote, the state-controlled Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is still refusing to release the results - while at the same time announcing a partial recount of the votes to take place Saturday.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai claims he defeated Mugabe squarely. Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party claims neither Tsvangirai nor Mugabe won outright and that a runoff is required. An independent electoral observation NGO also predicted that none of the parties took more than 50 percent at the first round but Tsvangirai was very close.

The MDC opposes both the runoff and recount.

Tsvangirai claimed in a BBC interview Thursday, the two parties had been close to a deal that would have ended Mugabe’s autocratic and economically disastrous rule a few days after the election but that some “establishment” elements scuppered it.

Earlier Zimbabwean soldiers went house to house in the low-income Harare suburb of Glenview, beating up men and youths, in what one witness claimed was revenge for an assault on a soldier living in the area earlier in the week. On the streets the police presence was heavy.

Several newspapers have reported that hardliners in the security forces opposed Mugabe stepping down and are now effectively running the country.

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