Zimbabwe's opposition launches appeal over poll result

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The Independent Online

The Zimbabwean opposition has launched a legal challenge to the results of the parliamentary election which it claims was rigged by the ruling party.

The Zimbabwean opposition has launched a legal challenge to the results of the parliamentary election which it claims was rigged by the ruling party.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has lodged 13 test cases with the electoral court and has threatened mass action to protest against a "predetermined outcome". The MDC won 41 out of the 120 contested seats in the vote on 31 March.

In its report on the elections, entitled Stolen, the MDC claims to have been cheated in at least 72 constituencies. It cites widespread voter intimidation and political manipulation of the polls by the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission. In particular it cites 13 constituencies where there were massive discrepancies between the number of voters announced by the commission and the number of votes given to the MDC and ruling Zanu-PF.

In Manyame, in the north, the commission announced 14,812 voters while the total votes cast was 24,303.

Welshman Ncube, the party's secretary general, said the first appeal had already been lodged in Bulawayo, challenging the result in Gweru Rural, where the MDC candidate narrowly lost in what was considered to be a safe seat.

While the MDC initially shied away from demonstrations, fearing a brutal response from the police, Mr Ncube made it clear that the MDC would engage in political action.

Commenting on the usefulness of street protests, Mr Ncube said: "It does not present any problems for us at all. We are not afraid of Zanu-PF."

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