The editorial follows repeated calls by Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), for regional governments to acknowledge his win in the March 29 elections.

 

He has accused Mugabe of trying to rig victory by buying time to prepare for a possible run-off, which the MDC rejects.

 

More than three weeks after the polls, no results from the presidential election have been released, and parliamentary ballots from 23 constituencies are being recounted.

 

On Tuesday, Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, urged African countries and the UN to intervene, saying the delay in publishing the results was unacceptable.


Back to China 


Meanwhile, a Chinese vessel loaded with weapons reportedly turned back to port after it was prevented from transporting its cargo overland to Zimbabwe across several southern African nations.

 

Jiang Yu, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, said the shipment was part of "normal military product trade" between the two countries.

 

"As far as I know, the carrier is now considering carrying back the cargo," she said on Tuesday.

 

Zimbabwe's neighbours, powerful unions and church leaders united to bar the Chinese freighter An Yue Jiang from docking or offloading its cargo since last week, saying it could deepen the country's post-election crisis.

Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF officials defended the arms shipment, saying the government did not need "clearance from anyone".

 

The US state department, which sought to block the shipment, asked the Chinese government to recall the vessel and stop further weapons shipments until the political crisis is resolved.

 

Tom Casey, the department's deputy spokesman, said it was the wrong time to add weapons or material when there were "real and visible instances of abuses committed by the security forces".

 

"We're pleased to see that a number of countries in the region ... have decided not to let this ship either dock or offload," he said.