Zimbabwe’s opposition leader has pulled out of this week’s presidential run-off election.
Morgan Tsvangirai says there is a state-sponsored ploy to help President Robert Mugabe win the poll and that a free and fair vote “is impossible.”
“We, in the MDC, have resolved that we will no longer participate in this violent, illegitimate sham of an election process,” Tsvangirai told a news conference.
The MDC claims its main pre-election rally in Harare on Sunday morning was broken-up by a pro-Mugabe youth militia, armed with iron bars and sticks.
During the campaign as a whole, the MDC says dozens of its supporters have been murdered.
Tsvangirai has urged the UN and African Union to intervene to prevent a “genocide” in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe, 84, was defeated in March’s first round vote. But, according to contested official figures, his rival failed to win the absolute majority needed to avoid a run-off.
The veteran president has repeatedly vowed never to turn over power to the opposition, which he says is lying over claims of political violence.