Zimbabwe opposition leader warns of state ‘war’ against people

April 6th, 2008 - 3:51 am ICT by admin  

Harare, April 6 (DPA) Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai Saturday warned of a state-sponsored “war” against the people in the event of a runoff presidential vote against President Robert Mugabe. Addressing a press conference in Harare Tsvangirai also reiterated his party’s claims that he had won last weekend’s election - the results of which have yet to be announced - outright, precluding the need for a second round.

But the MDC leader also said he would only take a decision on whether to contest a runoff after the official results had been released.

The elderly Mugabe, on the other hand, appears to be already gearing up for a second round after his party on Friday pledged their support for his bid to extend his 28-year rule by going to a runoff, if called for.

Exactly a week after the combined presidential, parliamentary and local elections there is still no sign of when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will release the presidential results.

Police earlier barred MDC lawyers from entering the High Court in Harare to apply for a court order to force ZEC to release the results, threatening to call in riot police unless they left the area. The court hearing was postponed until Sunday.

Tsvangirai Saturday called on Zimbabwe’s neighbours in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union to help negotiate a peaceful end to the country’s post-election impasse and avert violence.

But in London, South African President Thabo Mbeki said: “I think the situation so far is manageable” and again urged Zimbabweans to sit tight for the results.

ZEC had said it would release all the results within six days of the vote.

According to an estimate based on a random sample of results produced by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) NGO neither Mugabe nor Tsvangirai took more than the 50 percent plus one ballot needed for an outright victory.

The MDC has expressed fears that Mugabe will seek revenge against his opponents in a runoff. The party soundly defeated Mugabe’s Zanu-PF in elections to the 210-seat lower house of parliament, 109 seats to Zanu-PF’s 97.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa Saturday called on the UN’s intervention, saying, “The UN has to make sure that there is no violence. … They should not wait to come when there is blood in the street, blood in the villages.”

Later Saturday, announcing the final official Senate election results, the electoral commission said that Zimbabwe’s opposition and the ruling party each won 30 of the 60 seats in elections to the largely ceremonial upper house of parliament.

Control of the Senate will depend on who becomes Zimbabwe’s next president.

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