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Zimbabwe’s Opposition Displeased With Vote Count Delay

Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the ruling party has made another deliberate attempt to discredit the partial election recount and force a run-off. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Sunday indefinitely suspended a partial recount of the March 29 presidential election results.

The MDC accuses the ruling ZANU-PF of trying to perpetuate the over 28 years of President Robert Mugabe rule. The MDC say it is frustrated by the failure of the electoral commission to release the presidential election results three weeks after the general election. But supporters of President Robert Mugabe dismissed the accusation, saying the electoral commission is doing the right thing.

Glen Mpani is a Zimbabwean political analyst with the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that Zimbabweans are frustrated by the electoral Commission’s indecision.

“I think Zimbabweans are dejected (over the suspension) because it just adds on to the anxiety or to the element or the suspense that Zimbabweans have been for the past three weeks. But this is not surprising because everyone knows that ZANU-PF is in control of the process, and they will do anything to frustrate the people of Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe have been waiting anxiously, and I think one of the reasons why they have suspended the count is to try as much as possible to devise mechanisms of manipulating the system. So, I don’t think we need to be surprised by the suspension of the partial recount,” Mpani noted.

He said the main opposition MDC finds itself in an awkward position.

“One can look at it from two sides. The opposition has got very limited options considering that the state is now in a military situation where any move that the opposition is going to take, one might result in a nationwide bloodbath because the country is already being controlled by the generals. So they (opposition) need to exercise some level of responsibility. But secondly, we are already in a crisis so one issue to look at it is to say either way if they are to confirm the regime, the decision is already bad so the results is simply going to achieve a negative result for the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mpani condemned the reported mass arrests of members of the opposition.

“I think the mass arrests that are taking place of the opposition leadership in Zimbabwe and the fact that there are threats on their lives, and people are being butchered in different parts of Zimbabwe makes it very difficult for them (opposition) to mobilize Zimbabweans to protest,” Mpani pointed out.

He said there could not be free and fair elections in Zimbabwe as long as the ruling party stays in power.

“There would not be free and fair elections in Zimbabwe if there is a possible run-off. I think the indication from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is already shown that it is highly partisan and it is working in cahoots with ZANU-PF. And I think if the opposition participates in this election, it’s still participating in a very unleveled playing field. And it is not going to project a result that would reflect the true will of the people of Zimbabwe because they have been cornered, some are beaten and are being told that this election they have to vote properly. So the environment is working toward ensuring that they get a ZANU-PF victory. S I don’t think that can be taken as a free and fair election,” he said.