Delayed results from Zimbabwe to give Mugabe time to flee?


IT LOOKED like the moment millions of struggling Zimbabweans had dreamed of: the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) yesterday claimed it had won Zimbabwe's most crucial poll since independence in 1980.

Tendai Biti, the secretary of MDC, which is led by Morgan Tsvangirai, said: "The people's victory is on course. We have no doubt we have won this election."

The party said early results indicated the MDC had taken 67 per cent of the vote in 35 per cent of polling stations.

However, Zimbabweans were kept on tenterhooks after the state Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) delayed announcing results, fuelling speculation President Robert Mugabe was preparing to flee.

In central Avondale, youths whistled and sang a version of Let it Be, although police had tried to ban MDC supporters from celebrating until official results were published.

Mr Mugabe, who has brought Zimbabwe to its knees in his 28 years in power, appeared to have lost in some of his traditional rural strongholds, according to party officials.

But George Charamba, a presidential spokesman, warned Mr Tsvangirai that premature victory claims would be seen as an attempted coup, adding: "We all know how coups are handled."

Mugabe has had a good deal of experience at thwarting democracy and it is too early to say he want succeed again. It just may take more time to destroy opposition ballots and stuff boxes with votes for him this time. The celebration needs to be saved for when Mugabe is really gone.

Reuters reports that riot police have already begun patrolling which has led many to believe that vote rigging is underway.

The Guardian reports that the results clearly favor the opposition in Zimbabwe with Mugabe's party also losing seats. The Independent says the polling results Mugabe has tried to suppress is slipping out through postings near polling places around the country.


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