- Title: ZIMBABWE/ZAMBIA: Zimbabwe opposition rejects calls for vote recount
- Date: 10th April 2008
- Summary: (BN14) LUSAKA, ZAMBIA (APRIL 9, 2008) (REUTERS) WIDE OF EXTERIOR OF STATE HOUSE FLAG
- Embargoed: 25th April 2008 13:00
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAX16DLOLH2BYDKUM7JN0SPVQI
- Story Text: Zimbabwe government condemns opposition, which refuses to accept the vote recount demanded by the authorities. Zambian President calls emergency regional meeting.
Zimbabwe's election deadlock deepened on Wednesday (April 9), increasing fears of bloodshed, and Zambia called an emergency regional summit to discuss the crisis.
Official results have still not been released from the presidential poll 11 days after the vote and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says President Robert Mugabe is prolonging the delay while he plans a violent response to his biggest defeat since taking power in 1980.
Authorities showed little sign of buckling under the pressure to release the outcome of the election.
The MDC rejected both a runoff and ballot recounts, both demanded by Mugabe, saying it would only accept an outright victory for leader Morgan Tsvangirai as shown by its own tallies.
MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti told a news conference: "They have opened those boxes, they have moved those ballot boxes and they know what is inside those ballot boxes and we also have no doubt that the insistence on the recount of parliamentary boxes is a reflection that not only have they moved those ballot boxes and opened those ballot boxes but they have also stuffed those ballot boxes.
"And we as a party therefore, we will not accept any recount of any ballot paper that is in respect of parliamentary seats."
The MDC has called on African states to prevent a slide into bloodshed.
It urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit to ask Mugabe to step down.
As government and opposition traded barbs, dashing any hope of quick action to turn around a ruined economy, concern increased among Zimbabwe's neighbours.
In the first direct regional intervention, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa called a meeting of Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders for Saturday to formulate a concerted response. Mwanawasa is current chairman of the body.
Mwanawasa told a news conference in Lusaka: "Because of the deepening problems in the country, I felt that this matter should be dealt with at presidential level".
Mwanawasa's call came after Jacob Zuma, leader of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, said the results must be released, signalling a new, more robust reaction to the crisis than President Thabo Mbeki who favours "quiet diplomacy".
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said ruling ZANU-PF party tallies showed a runoff would be necessary.
And he accused the MDc of posturing, saying that there had been no actions which would justify any intervention from outside the country.
Chinamasa said there were indications that human error and "criminal intentions" had taken place in the vote counts but said they had occurred against both sides, not just against Mugabe's party.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None