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African leaders: Zimbabwe vote "not free nor fair"

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African leaders: Zimbabwe vote "not free nor fair"


The Secretary General of Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC party, Tendai Biti, has been charged with corruption and election rigging, and faces the death penalty. The worsening violence in Zimbabwe has convinced leading African nations that next week’s presidential run-off will be neither free nor fair.

The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has also been repeatedly arrested: “It is all part of harassment, and it has a direct effect. We spend time here, a lot of time, which is unnecessary, to come and attend the court proceedings. Therefore, it affects our time on the campaign.”

The MDC campaign bus is on the road, as the party continues to try to get its message out in what one anonymous Western diplomat called an atmosphere of terror. At least 70 opposition supporters have been killed, two of them in front of independent election observers.

South Africa has urged President Robert Mugabe to abandon the election and negotiate a deal. But Tanzania now fears Mugabe is planning to rig the vote to ensure victory. The President has already threatened to plunge Zimbabwe into civil war if he loses.

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