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Democracy Now: The Zimbabwe Elections
Posted: Friday, April 1, 2005

Opposition Accuses Mugabe of Rigging the Vote

Yesterday, parliamentary elections took place in Zimbabwe. Reports from the country say that the elections went off relatively peacefully. And for the first time- the opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, was able to campaign openly. The party is the first to seriously challenge President Mugabe's government since Zimbabwe won independence in 1980.

But even before the election, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangiari charged that the election was rigged. He said "we are not happy with the way the electoral playing field has been organized...This is not going to be a free and fair election."

Opposition leaders and human rights groups claim that the voter roles were inaccurate and that many who tried to vote were turned away. They also point to widespread fear and intimidation before the voting began. President Mugabe dismissed these complaints calling the elections completely free- and the Movement for Democratic Change a pawn of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other Western governments. Mugabe stated that he was "entirely, completely, totally optimistic" of victory for his Zimbabwe African National Union -Patriotic Front party. He called the election the "anti-Blair election."
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