afrol News, 13 March - The Zimbabwean Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede today declared that incumbent President Robert Mugabe had received about 54% of the vote of this weekend's presidential elections, while opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai got 40%. Mugabe had achieved more than 400,000 votes more than Tsvangirai, the official count says.
Mudede declared President Mugabe, 78, as the official winner of the elections, making him ready for his fifth term in office after gaining power in 1980. According to official numbers, Mugabe had won by a significant number, leaving no doubt of his victory.
The results are however widely contested by the opposition, independent observers and the international community, claiming the poll was rigged. Both the British and the US government already have accused President Mugabe of "stealing" the elections.
In addition to the irregularities before and during the poll, where polling stations in the opposition's strongholds were closed down before all voters could cast their poll, also the counting proved a dubious exercise. Neither the independent election observers nor journalists were allowed to oversee the count of the votes. All the electoral officials have been appointed by the ruling ZANU-PF party.
The official results astonished observers when read out. Opposition strongholds had the lowest turnout, even if observers had registered large crowds flocking to vote. In the meantime, President Mugabe's strongholds noted astonishingly high turnout numbers.
Opposition candidate Tsvangirai has refused to accept the results, saying the poll had been "massively rigged" and that one million voters were disenfranchised. "We have been cheated of the right to freely and democratically elect the president of our choice," he was quoted saying by the BBC.
The announcement of Mugabe's victory and the general outcry that the vote had been "stolen" is expected to provoke popular action the capital Harare and other urban centres, where the oppositional Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has almost general support. MDC leader Tsvangirai said before and during the poll "the people know what to do in the event the election is stolen," also indication there might be "an expression of anger."
The government, on the other hand, while celebrating Mugabe's victory, has strongly warned against any popular action. The Minister of Defence, Sydney Sekeramayi, today warned the Zimbabweans against disrespecting Mugabe's victory. Sekeramayi said he knew about "certain groups" willing to throw the country into chaos. The country's military forces are reported to be on highest alert. Roadblocks have been set up on the main approach roads to Harare. Army units are already deployed into townships of Bulawayo, another MDC stronghold.
Also the government-controlled media have prepared for weeks for the possible event of popular uprisings in urban centres. In various campaigns to mobilise the rural masses, mostly supporting Mugabe, these media have warned that Tsvangirai, when defeated, would side with the British government and white, racist elements in heading military operations against the government. The Harare daily 'Herald' even wrote about British invasion plans supported by Tsvangirai. Any popular uprising in Harare could therefore be met with armed rural masses.
Meanwhile, the MDC's arrested Secretary General, Welshman Ncube, has been charged with high treason for his part in an alleged assassination plot against Mugabe. Tsvangirai can expect the same charges. According to an analysis by the London-based 'Guardian', the government has now "moved to neutralise" the MDC and its leaders, "reducing their ability to mobilise their supporters." The daily also reported police had launched a crackdown on anyone in the north of the country "who had offered support or assistance to the MDC during the poll."