Witnesses are reporting low voter turnout in Zimbabwe, where President
Robert Mugabe is the only candidate taking part in Friday's
controversial presidential runoff.
Opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai withdrew from the race earlier this week, saying violence
against his supporters made the vote impossible. At a news conference
in the capital, Harare Friday, he denounced the runoff as an "exercise
in mass intimidation."
Earlier, he urged supporters to boycott the poll but said they should vote if their lives were in danger.
say turnout has been strong at two Harare polling stations, Mbare and
Harare South, but that other stations have seen only a trickle of
voters. Many residents say ruling party militia have threatened them
with harm if they do not vote.
President Mugabe cast his ballot Friday in the Highfields section of Harare. He told reporters he felt "optimistic."
84-year-old president rejected calls from the West and fellow African
leaders to postpone the election because of the violence.
opposition Movement for Democratic Change says 86 of its supporters
have been killed and thousands more injured in what it calls a campaign
of intimidation by the ruling ZANU-PF party.
Human rights groups and U.S. ambassador James McGee have reported similar findings of ruling party violence.
Mr. Mugabe and his allies reject the accusations and blame the MDC for the violence.
Tsvangirai defeated Mr. Mugabe in the first round of elections March
29. However, official results showed him falling just short of the
majority needed to avoid a runoff.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.