Violence mars Zimbabwe recount

UK urges arms embargo amid vote recount and claims of government attacks.

Twenty-one of the constituencies being recounted were won by the MDC [AFP]
Twenty-one of the constituencies being recounted were won by the MDC [AFP]

Controversial recount
Twenty-one of the constituencies being recounted after complaints of irregularities by Zanu-PF have been won by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

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Opposition claims intimidation

The MDC was initially declared to have taken 109 seats against 97 for Zanu-PF in the 210-seat parliamentary chamber, but the party of Robert Mugabe, the president, will regain its majority if it can reverse the results in seven or more of the seats under review.

The recount also covers votes cast in a simultaneous presidential election in which Mugabe is seeking a sixth term in office.
Our correspondent said people in the country were becoming increasingly frustrated with the political wrangling over the elections and had given up, suspecting that Zanu-PF was going to end up being declared the winner.
She said there were also reports that people were being intimidated in the rural areas, a charge the government has denied.

International pressure


World leaders are pushing for an end to the stalemate.


Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, told parliament on Wednesday that he would seek a complete arms embargo against Zimbabwe and called on the whole world to show the Zimbabwe government that the situation there was “not acceptable”.


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After addressing parliament, Brown met Jacob Zuma, the leader of South Africa‘s ruling ANC party in talks dominated by the Zimbabwe crisis.


The African National Congress leader has been one of Mugabe’s most outspoken critics in Africa.


Zuma also called the situation “not acceptable” and said he and Brown agreed on the need for action and called for the election results to be quickly released.


“We call for an end to any violence and intimidation and stress the importance of respect for the sovereign people of Zimbabwe and the choice they have made at the ballot box,” they said in a joint statement after their meeting.


However, Zuma would not support Brown’s call for an international arms embargo on Wednesday.


Zuma, who has distanced himself from the “quiet diplomacy” of Thabo Mbeki, South Africa‘s president, over Zimbabwe, has called on African leaders to take action to unlock the stalemate.


Zimbabwe‘s neighbours, previously passive despite the collapse of the country’s economy, took a harder line towards Mugabe this week, refusing to allow a Chinese ship to unload arms headed for the landlocked country.


Post-election violence
The opposition claims at least 10 people have been killed and hundreds injured – mostly during what they say has been a campaign of intimidation by supporters of Mugabe.
In Centenary, 100km northwest of Harare, at least 28 homes have been burned down, while many people report being attacked.

“They beat me, tore my clothes and said to me I was selling out the nation, and that I am MDC”

Justin Chauke, attacked farm worker

Justin Chauke, a farm worker, told Al Jazeera: “They beat me, tore my clothes and said to me I was selling out the nation, and that I am MDC. They kept beating me, and I started bleeding from my ears and nose.”

Church leaders on Tuesday also issued a statement claiming several people have been injured and killed in post-election violence.
Government officials deny opposition supporters are being targeted and say the MDC is lying.
Patrick Chinamasa, the minister of justice, said: “We refute completely that people are dying of politically motivated violence. And please next time they say that, ask them who are these people, where are their names.”
The minister said claims by Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, of a genocide happening in the country are wrong.
Chinamasa told Al Jazeera: “With respect to genocide, please save us from the MDC-Tsvangirai lies. What are they intended to achieve? They are intended to achieve on an international intervention in the domestic affairs of Zimbabwe.”

Zimbabwe‘s state-run newspaper has, meanwhile, urged regional countries to help Mugabe form a transitional government that can organise a fresh poll and write a new constitution.


The Herald, traditionally close to Zanu-PF, said in an editorial posted on its website on Wednesday that prevailing political tensions made it impossible to hold a free and fair presidential run-off.

“The current socio-economic environment in Zimbabwe is not conducive, and the country’s political dynamics so distorted, that holding a free and fair election run-off in the immediate term is literally impossible,” it said.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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