Thursday 21 September 2017

Rivals in last bid to oust Mugabe

Robert Mugabe: party accused of seeking to rig vote
Robert Mugabe: party accused of seeking to rig vote

Aislinn Laing Harare

Tens of thousands of supporters of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC) turned out for what was said to be the biggest election rally of the country's post-independence history, in a last push to remove President Robert Mugabe from power.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC's leader, told a sea of supporters dressed in red, the party colour, that in casting their votes tomorrow, they would make "one of the most important choices" since Zimbabwe's post-colonial birth in 1980.

"It's a choice between a bleak future and a better tomorrow, between authoritarianism and democratic governance," he said.

Party officials suggested that upwards of 100,000 people had gathered on a patch of wasteland in the shadow of the ruling Zanu-PF's distinctive towerblock headquarters in downtown Harare yesterday. That would make it the biggest show of defiance to Mr Mugabe since he took power 33 years ago.

The MDC has alleged Zanu PF is seeking to rig the vote – something Mr Mugabe has staunchly denied.

Mr Tsvangirai told his audience that, two days before the poll, he had still not been given the voters' roll, and claimed the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was either "complicit" in the alleged rigging, or "have abdicated their responsibility to other forces".

MDC strategists suggested that the party could still win as much as 78pc of the vote. Pedzisai Ruhanya, the director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said that if yesterday's crowds were any indication, even fraud would not be able to dent the party's lead. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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