Zimbabwe opposition may call street protests over 'poll farce'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 August, 2013, 2:11am

Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said yesterday it could take to the streets to challenge President Robert Mugabe's victory in an election it rejects as a farce and which faces scepticism from the West.

Latest results from the electoral commission showed Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front with 137 of the 210 elected seats in parliament, three seats shy of a two-thirds majority, to 48 for Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party. The African Union's monitoring mission chief and former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo called Wednesday's polls generally "free and fair". But domestic monitors have described them as "seriously compromised" by registration flaws that may have disenfranchised up to a million people. Western observers were kept out by Harare.

The head of the Chinese government's five-man observer team, Liu Guijin, said the elections were fairly credible despite some flaws.

The mood on the streets of the capital was subdued. Some voters expressed disbelief at the election outcome.

"This is daylight robbery, but the MDC should have realised that, without violence, Zanu-PF would still do something to cheat," said McDonald Sibanda, a 34-year-old salesman.

The disputed outcome risks plunging Zimbabwe back into deep crisis.

"If certain people feel their choice was not accepted, they may resort to violence," said Sean O'Leary, a spokesman for poll monitors from the Catholic Church.

Agence France-Presse, Reuters, Bloomberg, Xinhua