Despite an international outcry and the withdrawal of the opposition candidate Zimbabweans vote today in an election in which victory for President Robert Mugabe can be the only outcome.
He has rejected last minute calls from the international community to postpone the ballot, which most observers say will be a sham.
In a final rally Mugabe even spoke out against the African Union, which includes some of his allies,
accusing it of trying to interfere in Zimbabwe’s affairs. He is due meet AU leaders next week and says he will stand up to any challenge to the election result.
Nelson Mandela and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon have also called for a postponement.
Mugabe has said he would talk to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, but only after the vote.
Tsvangirai, who has taken refuge in the Dutch embassy, has ruled out any post- election negotiations. He accuses Mugabe’s supporters of killing almost 90 of his own followers.
The Movement for Democratic Change has complained of intimidation and terror throughout the campaign. Tsvangirai’s deputy has just been released on bail on treason charges after being held for two weeks.
Fearing what may come after the election, opposition supporters have been queuing outside the South African embassy hoping for an escape from the chaos in their country.