April 22, 2005

Opposition acts on election dispute

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has filed petitions with the electoral court challenging the results of 13 of the 78 constituencies won by Zanu-PF in last month's parliamentary election. MDC spokesperson Paul Themba-Nyathi has announced that his party had filed the petitions as a test case to show how the poll was rigged. Analysts have, however, questioned why the MDC is not disputing results in the constituencies where it won. Zanu-PF won 78 of the 120 contested seats, while the MDC won 41.
Most election observer groups, including those from the Southern African Development Community and the South African government, endorsed the outcome. In response the MDC national executive decided to "no longer regard South Africa as a conciliator in Zimbabwe", effectively giving President Thabo Mbeki's quiet diplomacy mediation efforts the boot. But the African National Congress's head of presidency, Smuts Ngonyama, said that when the ANC had met with the opposition to try and find ways to ensure that the MDC and Zanu-PF "work together", none of the anger and disappointment expressed by the MDC was evident at the meeting.
In the meantime, President Mugabe has appointed his nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, a newcomer to politics, to the post of deputy minister of Science and Technology. Zhuwao, who won last month's elections in the hotly disputed Manyame constituency, 40 kilometres west of the capital, is son to Mugabe's sister Sabina, who was also elected in the rural constituency of Zvimba south. Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is challenging Zhuwao's victory in Manyame, pointing to a 10.000-vote discrepancy between the number of votes cast and the final tally announced by the electoral commission. (The Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg / AFP)

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