Mugabe warns over early poll win claim

2013-07-28 21:50

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Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Sunday warned his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai that he would be arrested if he claimed victory before official results were announced in an election this week.

In his final campaign rally ahead of a presidential and parliamentary vote on Wednesday, Mugabe said his Zanu-PF party was confident of victory, which would extend his three decades in power.

But he expressed concern that Tsvangirai, who is making a third run at the presidency, had threatened not to wait for official results from the electoral authorities.

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Tsvangirai told his own Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters at the weekend that although Zanu-PF was trying to rig the elections, he expected an overwhelming victory and did not have to wait for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

On Sunday, Mugabe dismissed Tsvangirai's charges of Zanu-PF vote rigging as unfounded complaints of a "political cry baby" staring at inevitable defeat, warning him to respect laws giving only the ZEC the power to announce results.

"I can tell you in advance that if you breach the law and become a law breaker, the police will arrest you," he said to cheers from thousands of supporters at a stadium in Harare.

In 2008, the election commission announced presidential election results after five weeks, which showed Tsvangirai had beaten Mugabe but not by enough votes to avoid a run-off.

His MDC said ZEC had cooked the figures to keep Mugabe in office, and Tsvangirai went on to occupy the prime minister's post in a power-sharing government.

Tsvangirai will address his last major rally on Monday.

This year's short election campaign period has been largely free of the violence that has marred previous polls.

But the MDC accuses Zanu-PF of rigging the 31 July polls in its favour through a shambolic voters' register and a refusal to open up the media to all sides or to restrain security forces from active politics.

Read more on:    mdc  |  zanu-pf  |  zimbabwe  |  zimbabwe elections 2013  |  southern africa

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