Mugabe rivals face 'brutal attacks'

Opposition supporters tell Al Jazeera they were beaten and had their homes burnt.

    Rights activists say 10 people have been killed and hundreds have fled since the March 29 vote [AFP]
    Police said they had been seeking suspects in a series of arson attacks in the north of the country.

    The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights) said on Tuesday that at least 10 people have been killed in politically motivated attacks and hundreds of others more forced to flee since the polls.
    Zanu-PF, the party of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, is facing a strong challenge to its 28-year grip on power from the MDC, headed by Morgan Tsvangirai.
    'Lucky to survive'

    Jonothan Marikita, who was a parliamentary candidate for the MDC in the elections, told Al Jazeera that he was attacked with axes.
    "They left me unconscious, I couldn't even talk. I was just lucky to survive, even now I don't know how I came here," he said from his hospital bed in Harare, where he was recovering from injuries sustained in an axe attack.
    "I have no home, they even went ahead and burnt about 11 houses of MDC people, most of those are now homeless.

    "They have nowhere to go, nothing to eat. This is being sponsored by the senior Zanu-PF officials in that district."

    Takesure Chingamawhe, an MDC supporter in the same hospital, said that he was also attacked by what appeared to be a Zanu-PF gang.  

    "I saw Zanu-PF youth come to my house at about midnight. They woke me up and ordered me to go with them," he said. 

    "They kept asking me who did I vote for? I told them MDC. They laughed and said they were going to have to kill me. They beat me and luckily I escaped."

    The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights says its members have treated at least 323 victims of violence since April 1, with injuries ranging from bruises to fractures and broken ribs.

    Run-off fears 

    More than one month after the presidential election there has been no official result released.

    Al Jazeera speaks to MDC supporters injured in
    post-election violence

    Tsvangirai says that he won the poll outright, but Mugabe's government says a second round run-off will be needed.
    "If there is a run-off, what is of grave concern is that all these displaced people will not be able to go back to their home areas to vote," Kucaca Phulu, Zimrights chairman, said.
    "We condemn the state for the lackadaisical approach to this violence."

    Zimbabwe's election commission will meet presidential candidates on Thursday for a "verification and collation exercise" aimed at finally releasing the results.

    George Chiweshe, Zimbabwe's election commission chief, said that the candidates or their representatives would be asked to compare their results gathered at individual polling stations with the results compiled by the electoral commission and to agree on the final results.

    'Will of the people'

    George Bush, the US president, added his voice on Tuesday to the international chorus urging Mugabe to accept the results of the March 29 election.
    "The will of the people needs to be respected in Zimbabwe, and it is clear that they voted for change as they should have because Mr Mugabe has failed the country," he said.

    Police raided the MDC offices saying they were
    seeking suspected arsonists [AFP]

    Bush said that Mugabe "is intimidating the people there" and neighbouring countries such as South Africa should take a leading role in resolving the crisis.

    Meanwhile, the UN Security Council was meeting to discuss the situation later on Tuesday, with France calling for the results to be published immediately.

    Jean-Maurice Ripert, France's ambassador to the UN, said before the meeting that he did not expect a "written outcome" from it.
    However, the fact the meeting was held at all would send a signal to Zimbabwe's authorities "that we are looking very carefully at what they are doing", he said.

    Diplomats said that South Africa, which currently holds the Security Council presidency, was reluctant to have it take up the issue of Zimbabwe.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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