Rigging fears
 
Haru Mutasa, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, said election observers and analysts are concerned that the process of recounting could be rigged by Zanu-PF.

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"The opposition is now running out of time. As far as the government is concerned, this recount is going to happen," Mutasa reported.

"Local and regional observers will be going to the polling stations on Saturday to observe the vote count."

Confusion prevails

Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was out of the country on Friday, as the president addressed guests to mark Independence Day.

Tallies suggest Tsvangirai's MDC won the poll,
but not by enough to prevent a run-off [EPA]

"Morgan Tsvangirai is outside the country trying to garner support from other leaders, and some people are wondering how this is going to help," Mutasa reported.

"They are saying why is he not in the country on Independence Day. Even Robert Mugabe asked why the opposition leader was in Botswana?"

Tsvangirai's supporters want him to return before Saturday's recount.

Electoral officials had earlier said that they had found problems with tallies in 23 constituencies, mostly won by opposition candidates.

Britain accused
 
Mugabe has been under heavy international criticism for failing to authorise the release of results from the March 29 presidential vote, which the opposition claims it had won.
 
Speaking at Friday's, Mugabe accused Britain of trying to interfere in Zimbabwe, to meet its own interests and hijack the situation.

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

"We, not the British, established democracy based on one person-one vote democracy, which rejected racial or gender discrimination and observed human rights."

Controversial shipment

Mbeki, left, has been criticised for being quiet
on Zimbabwe's election problems [AFP]

Meanwhile in South Africa, a court has started to hear an urgent application aimed at preventing the off-loading of an arms shipment destined for Zimbabwe.

Earlier, dock workers in the port of Durban had refused to unload the cargo, aboard a Chinese ship.

The vessel is believed to be carrying 77 tonnes of small arms, including AK-47 assault rifles, mortars and rocket propelled grenades.

The South African government said there was nothing illegal about the shipment and that it would not stop the Chinese-made weapons from reaching Zimbabwe, despite fears that the weapons may be used to clamp down on the opposition.

However, unionists at the port said it was irresponsible to allow weapons into Zimbabwe, given the political uncertainty there.