Monday, March 31, 2008

Zim opposition claim election lead

From the UKGuardian:

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Zimbabwe's main opposition party claimed an early lead Sunday in elections, seeking to thwart any possible vote rigging by President Robert Mugabe amid silence from the Electoral Commission and the deployment of security forces.

Earlier people celebrated in the streets, dancing, singing and giving each other the openhanded wave that is the opposition party's symbol.

But by sundown, as frustrations grew more than 24 hours after polls closed, riot police and other security forces were patrolling the capital's densely populated suburbs, according to independent election monitors....

Security and government officials loyal to Mugabe have warned Tsvangirai against declaring a victory. ``It is called a coup d'etat and we all know how coups are handled,'' chief presidential spokesman George Charamba was quoted as saying in the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper.

Two officials of the ruling party said Mugabe was consulting with his security chiefs Sunday night amid fears of how they might react to any news of his defeat. The chiefs all have said they would serve only Mugabe. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Western diplomats, who also spoke on condition of anonymity for that same reason, reported that many younger army officers showed open defiance of orders that they had to vote for Mugabe...

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