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Morgan Tsvangirai Accuses Zimbabwe Government of Seeking War to Reverse Election Losses


In Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, who led his party to victory in parliamentary elections, said Saturday there is no need for a runoff of the presidential election, because he won that vote as well with a 50 percent majority. Peta Thornycroft reports from Harare that lawyers for Tsvangirai were chased away from the High Court Saturday as they tried to lodge an application to demand official release of the results of the presidential poll.

Zimababwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai Saturday accused the government of President Robert Mugabe of preparing a war against Zimbabwe's people in order to reverse what Tsvangirai called the people's will.

"We know that thousands of army recruits are being recruited," he said. "Militants are being rehabilitated. And some few claiming to be war veterans are already on the warpath."

He also accused the government of adding to Zimbabwe's hyperinflation by printing money to win any runoff vote.

"The reserve bank printing presses are in overdrive to print more money for further bribery activities, financing of violence and creation of no-go areas for the MDC," he adeed. "ZANU-PF is thus preparing a war on the people such as we have witnessed in 2000 and 2002."

The remarks come one week after Zimbabwe's elections in which Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won a majority of seats in parliament. The Election Commission Saturday said the ruling ZANU-PF and opposition MDC parties each won 30 seats in the newly created Senate.

But Zimbabweans are still eagerly awaiting the results of the presidential vote, which Tsvangirai's party and civic groups say he won according to their tallies of results posted at polling stations.

The delay led the MDC to seek to petition the High Court in Harare to demand that the country's Election Commission release the presidential election results.

But on Saturday, the MDC's lawyer, Alex Muchadahama, was prevented from filing the plea.

In public view, he was barred by armed men from entering the court. He said, although he was upset, he would try again on Sunday.

On Saturday, the State controlled Herald newspaper said the MDC has encouraged white farmers to reclaim land from which they were evicted in recent years under a so-called land reform program. The farms were given to some liberation war veterans and family members of government and party officials.

The newspaper said that war veterans loyal to Mr Mugabe have been aroused.

The issue of land distributions to black Zimbabweans was the most consistent theme of ZANU-PF's pre-election campaign. Land has now become the ruling party's most important post election rallying point, with the party's hardcore warning that an MDC government would reverse land seizures from whites.

For the first time in several years, white commercial farmers in southeastern Zimbabwe, who continue growing crops on small pieces of their original holdings, are now under siege.

The Commercial Farmers Union said Saturday war veterans have moved onto four farms and a tourist lodge owned by farmers about 250 kilometers south east of Harare. It said the police have not intervened.