A British government minister says if the upcoming election in Zimbabwe
were free and fair, the opposition would win. Mark Malloch Brown added
that the world would not allow President Mugabe to get away with
stealing the election. Tendai Maphosa has more in this report for VOA
Foreign Office Minister Mark Malloch Brown is the
latest to add his voice to the growing disapproval of President Robert
Mugabe's campaign for the presidential election set for June 27. He
spoke on local radio.
"I suspect that from the fact that there
was a 55 percent anti-Mugabe vote in the first round, and everything he
has done since has only outraged and offended his own people and his
African neighbors - that in that number's increase - say just
moderately by another 10 percent, that means that the opposition would
have two-to-one lead in the popular vote," he said.
Brown referred to the Zimbabwean government's stopping local election
officers from deploying, limiting the number of international
observers, stopping the opposition advertising on state media and
arresting opposition leaders as evidence Mr. Mugabe wants to steal the
"He obviously wants to steal it, but he is going to
have to do it so visibly and ostentatiously and outrageously I think
the world will, I hope, not let him get away with it," he added.
leaders, who had been reluctant to criticize Mr. Mugabe's government
for alleged human rights abuses, have begun openly expressing concern
about events in Zimbabwe. Reuters news agency quotes Tanzania Foreign
Minister Bernard Membe as saying there is every sign the elections will
never be free or fair.
The June 27 poll follows the result of
the March election in which opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the most votes. But Zimbabwe
election officials say he did not win the necessary majority to claim
The MDC says more than 60 of its supporters
and activists have been murdered by supporters of Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF
party, so-called war veterans of Zimbabwe's war of independence and the
security forces. A further 2,000, the opposition says, have
received varying degrees of injuries, while 30,000 have been
Mr. Mugabe blames the opposition for the violence,
but reports by various human rights groups all say the president is
using violence to intimidate voters into backing him on June 27.