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Tsvangirai Accuses Mugabe of Preparing a 'War' Against Zimbabweans

  • VOA News

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is accusing President Robert Mugabe of preparing a "war" against the people of Zimbabwe in an attempt to hold on to power.

Mr. Tsvangirai, who says he won last Saturday's presidential vote outright, is also calling on Mr. Mugabe to speak with him.

Independent observers say Mr. Tsvangirai won the most votes in last Saturday's election, but not enough to avoid a runoff. Official results from the presidential election have yet to be released.

However, Zimbabwe's electoral commission said today Mr. Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party and the combined political opposition each won 30 of the 60 seats in the largely ceremonial upper house of Parliament.

Official election results declared earlier gave the opposition Movement for Democratic Change control of the lower house of Parliament. But, President Robert Mugabe's party says it is asking for a recount in 16 districts.

Lawyers for Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC party say the nation's High Court has postponed until Sunday a hearing to consider a petition demanding the immediate release of the presidential election results. Earlier today (Saturday), armed Zimbabwean police prevented opposition lawyers from entering the court.

By law, run-off elections in Zimbabwe must be held within 21 days, but diplomats and opposition officials say Mr. Mugabe is planning to wait three months before allowing a new vote to proceed.

An MDC spokesman is pleading with the international community to intervene to prevent bloodshed in case a runoff is declared.

A group of military veterans supporting Mr. Mugabe staged a silent march in the capital Harare on Friday, raising fears that the ruling party will resort to force in the disputed election.

The 84-year-old president has ruled Zimbabwe since it gained independence from Britain in 1980. Supporters hail him as a hero of the independence movement, but critics say his policies have ruined Zimbabwe's economy. The nation suffers from chronic food shortages and hyperinflation.

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