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Zimbabwe Presidential Vote Hearing Continues Into Second Day


Zimbabwe's High Court reopens a hearing to decide whether to order the country's electoral commission to release the result of presidential elections held 11 days ago.

A High Court judge Tendai Uchena who had called the case urgent Tuesday, ordered further arguments Wednesday (0800 UTC).

Zimbabwe's opposition is accusing President Robert Mugabe of arming militias in a campaign of violence, and is appealing to African leaders to intervene in the country's electoral standoff.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, defeated Mr. Mugabe, who has ruled the country for the past 28 years. But independent monitors say Mr. Tsvangirai fell short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff vote.

Adding to tensions, Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers Union says hardline supporters of President Mugabe have chased about 60 farmers, most of them white, off their land in recent days.

Mr. Mugabe initiated huge seizures of land owned by whites in 2000. The seizures are widely blamed for triggering a fall in food production and the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy.

Earlier this week, the ZANU-PF demanded a full recount of the vote. MDC officials said asking for a recount is ridiculous when the original results are still not known.

Mr. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since the country won independence from Britain in 1980.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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