Zimbabwe election: Morgan Tsvangirai supporters claim attacks in wake of Robert Mugabe win
Country edges closer to disorder after 'monumental fraud' of general elections
Church leaders in Zimbabwe have called for peace following the country’s disputed general election results, as members of Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition MDC party claimed they had been attacked and forced from their homes by supporters of President Robert Mugabe.
More than 30 people from two different provinces arrived at the MDC party headquarters on Sunday, seeking refuge after they were allegedly targeted in politically-motivated violence, the BBC reported.
A spokesperson for the party, Douglas Mwonzora, said the attacks had been “well planned”, with Mr Mugabe’s followers going from door to door seeking out opposition supporters and forcing them to pack their bags and leave.
Though a spokesman for the leading ZANU-PF party told the BBC they denied the claims, there have been increasing concerns that disagreements will boil over into disorder.
ZANU-PF took a two-thirds majority in Zimbabwe’s 210-seat parliament, and Mr Mugabe won 62 per cent of the presidential vote, in elections on Wednesday that Morgan Tsvangirai has called “a monumental fraud”.
And the opposition party, the only group to come close to opposing the 33-year rule of the 89-year-old Mr Mugabe, has previously said it received “radical” calls to take action from its supporters, reflecting “the frustration, hopelessness and anger in every one of us”.
With both sides edging closer to violence, Zimbabwean police have set up extra roadblocks and water canon stations in the capital of Harare, and took the unusual measure of arming officers with automatic rifles.
In a nationwide message to worshippers on Sunday, the Roman Catholic church called on Christians not to be “consumed by bitterness that leads to violence”.
Church leader Father Charles Kanongwa said: “Peace in your heart brings calm. Trust and have faith.”
South African President Jacob Zuma, the chief regional mediator in Zimbabwe's decade-long political and economic crisis, has congratulated Mugabe on election victory and called for all parties to “accept the outcome”.
Observers are seeking to avoid the onslaught of violence that following the 2008 elections, in which the opposition captured 111 seats to Mr Mugabe's 99, and Mr Tsvangirai won the first round of the presidential vote, but was forced to boycott proceedings in protest against attacks on his supporters.
In the past week monitoring groups have called for an investigation, amid claims as many as 700,000 eligible voters were left off the election register. The UK Foreign Office commended the people of Zimbabwe on the peaceful process, but Foreign Secretary William Hague voiced “grave concerns” over how it was conducted.
While the dispute raged on, state radio reports quoted security minister Sydney Sekeramayi saying voters had given ZANU-PF the mandate to continue with its programme of black empowerment, taking over control of at least 1,100 businesses and companies that remain in the hands of foreign owners and the nation's small white community.
Even before he had been re-sworn into office and appointed a new cabinet, the message was clear that it was back to business as usual under Mr Mugabe’s rule, and the dust is expected to have long settled by the time independent bodies release their final reports into the scale of electoral inconsistencies.
Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises in the...
£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...