Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tensions high on eve of Zimbabwe elections

NAIROBI, Kenya — Zimbabweans head to the polls today in presidential and parliamentary elections, but even before the ballots are cast, there are allegations of fraud that throw doubt over the legitimacy of the vote and whether it will lead to a peaceful outcome.

The country's 89-year-old autocrat, Robert Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, is seeking another five-year term as president. Critics and analysts allege his loyalists have manipulated the voting process in myriad ways in an attempt to ensure victory.

There are reports of "ghost voters" and hundreds of thousands of deceased people on the voter registration lists. Voters have complained about being improperly registered or not being registered at all. Human rights activists allege intimidation and interference by the government, its military and security forces in the runup to the elections.

Underscoring the rising tensions, Mugabe's main opponent, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is challenging Mugabe for a third time, last week accused election officials of throwing away votes cast in his favor by roughly 70,000 police and soldiers who voted early.

And over the weekend Tsvangirai, 61, declared that he had no confidence in the electoral commission to conduct legitimate elections. He warned that if there were any delays in the official results like what unfolded in the disputed 2008 elections, he would break the law and announce the election outcome.

On Tuesday, Mugabe denied that his supporters have engaged in vote-rigging and said he would step down if he loses the elections after 33 years at the helm of a once prosperous nation whose economy is now in dire shape.

"We have done no cheating, never, ever," Mugabe told a news conference in Harare.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses a news conference Tuesday in Harare. Mugabe says he is ready to relinquish power if he loses the election after 33 years at the helm of the southern Africa nation.

European Pressphoto Agency

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses a news conference Tuesday in Harare. Mugabe says he is ready to relinquish power if he loses the election after 33 years at the helm of the southern Africa nation.

Tensions high on eve of Zimbabwe elections 07/30/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 12:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. East Lake alum George Campbell starting to click at Florida State

    Blogs

    When receiver Auden Tate (Wharton High) went down with a shoulder injury for Florida State on Saturday, the Seminoles' offense took a major hit. Quarterback James Blackman was 16-of-22 for 190 yards before Tate's injury and 6-of-16 for 88 after it.

  2. This Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake is ready for breakfast, dessert or your next party

    Cooking

    This week, food critic Laura Reiley offers thoughts on the Bundt cake, and why it and other retro desserts are making a comeback. Read that story here.

    Lemon Blueberry Coconut Bundt Cake. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  3. Our president, our protests

    Blogs

    Our president has done more to foster national anthem protests than the protestors.

  4. Trump: Objection to NFL protests 'has nothing to do with race'

    National

    MORRISTOWN, New Jersey — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his opposition to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality "has nothing to do with race" but …

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters upon his return to the White House in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Trump insisted Sunday that his opposition to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality "has nothing to do with race" but has to do with "respect for our country and respect for our flag." [Associated PRss]
  5. World War II vet, 97, takes a knee in support of anthem protests

    Human Interest

    SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — On a day when NFL teams grabbed the nation's attention by coordinating demonstrations during the national anthem, a 97-year-old World War II veteran went viral with a solitary show of support for the protests.

    Brennan Gilmore posted a Twitter picture Sunday morning of his grandfather, John Middlemas, kneeling while wearing a veteran's cap. [Twitter]