Zimbabwe police tell parties to wait for official election results

HARARE - Zimbabwe's police on Tuesday warned political parties not to make premature claims of victory in next Saturday's elections as doing so could trigger chaos and violence around the country.

Senior Assistant Commissioner Faustino Mazango told a media briefing in Harare that political parties should be patient and wait for the official announcement of results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

“Let me indicate that we will not brook any situations of chaos or conduct likely to cause a breach of peace, pandemonium, commotion, turmoil or disturbance of peace,” said Mazango who heads the police’s elections committee.

“Any premature claims or announcements by anyone at any level could bring disorder . . . we should all wait for the final results on how we fared in the elections through announcements made by people authorized by law” said Mazango, adding that the police would deal with politicians who rush to claim victory before official results are announced.

Zimbabweans go to the polls on Saturday to elect a new president, parliamentarians and local government representatives.

There have been fears that the crisis-torn nation could explode in Kenyan-style violence if President Robert Mugabe – who the opposition accuses of rigging past elections – cheats his way to victory again.

Mugabe is facing his biggest electoral test during the polls from a resurgent Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former finance minister Simba Makoni.

Tsvangirai, who has been drawing huge crowds at his campaign rallies countrywide, last Sunday urged Zimbabweans to “defend their vote” if Mugabe rigs the polls to stay in office.

Mazango, in remarks that appeared targeted at Tsvangirai and his MDC party, said the police were “more than prepared to deal a deadly blow” to anyone bent on creating chaos during and after the polls that are being held against a background of an unprecedented economic crisis in the country.

Mugabe, who was last re-elected in a controversial election condemned by Western governments as flawed, has promised a thunderous victory against Tsvangirai and Makoni whom he says are stooges of former colonial master Britain.

The veteran leader, in power since Zimbabwe’s 1980 independence from Britain and seeking another five-year term, has told the opposition to accept the election result, warning that security forces were ready to crush any post-election upheaval. – ZimOnline

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