Tensions rise ahead of Zim elections

2013-07-30 11:27
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Thousands rally for Tsvangirai

Thousands gathered at Freedom Square in Harare to rally for ovement for Democratic Change presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of Wednesday's general elections. See pictures.

Cape Town - Tensions between Zimbabwe’s two largest parties have increased dramatically in the days leading up to Wednesday’s general election, according to a report.

Although there has been little political violence reported in the run-up to the elections, Irish Times said on Tuesday that accusations Zanu-PF was intent on rigging were worrisome.

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai has repeatedly said he had no confidence in Zimbabwe’s electoral commission to oversee a free and fair poll. Tsvangirai has also maintained that if the official result was delayed he would break the law and announce the election outcome once votes had been tallied.

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On Monday Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who is also a senior MDC official, told reporters that "with virtually a day to go to the election, no political party in Zimbabwe other than Zanu-PF perhaps has got a copy of the final voters' roll".

Earlier this month the Harare-based Research and Advocacy Unit revealed major discrepancies in the voters’ roll when it was compared to the population census. It maintained the existing voter list included about one million dead voters or Zimbabweans who had left the country, as well as more than 100 000 people over 100 years old.

President Robert Mugabe has however maintained Tsvangirai must adhere to election laws.

On Sunday, at his final campaign rally at a sports stadium in Harare, Mugabe warned his political nemesis not to follow through on Tsvangirai’s threat to announce unofficial results if the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) failed to release them quickly.

Mugabe’s warning came hours after Tsvangirai’s election organiser, Morgan Komichi, was arrested by police at his home. Last week Komichi handed into the authorities marked ballot papers found in a dustbin following early voting by police and army officers.

If Mugabe is elected after Wednesday's vote it would mean he will likely rule Zimbabwe into his 90s.

For all Zimbabwe election stories please visit our Zimbabwe Special Report Page.

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