Zimbabwe recount deepens crisis
President Mugabe's electoral commission on Sunday delayed a recount of the March 29 vote, raising concerns of vote rigging.
Nairobi, Kenya; and Harare, Zimbabwe
As President Robert Mugabe's handpicked Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) recounts votes in 23 constituencies, human rights groups say his militias are setting up "torture camps" to beat opposition supporters and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has fled the country in fear for his life.Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Mugabe's government announced a delay in the partial recount of the disputed March 29 election on Sunday, raising opposition concerns that his ruling ZANU-PF party intends to rig the recount to overturn the results of the parliamentary vote, which showed ZANU-PF losing its majority to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for the first time.
In Nairobi, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in town to celebrate the successful peace deal in Kenya that created a coalition government, called on African leaders to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis.
"On the question of Zimbabwe there has been substantial international attention," Mr. Annan told reporters. "The question which has been posed is: Where are the Africans? Where are their leaders and the countries in the region, what are they doing? It is a rather dangerous situation. It's a serious crisis with impact beyond Zimbabwe."
MDC rejects recount
With a government crackdown now well under way, the political crisis following the elections is escalating sharply.
Leaders of the MDC say that they will not accept the results of the recount and that they will reject calls for a runoff vote against Mugabe. In a new report, Human Rights Watch says pro-government militias – including hundreds of so-called "war veterans" – are arresting and beating anyone suspected of having supported MDC. And as the ongoing "quiet" mediation efforts by South African President Thabo Mbeki lose credibility, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has called for a meeting of African leaders in Ghana next week to discuss Zimbabwe.
Many Africans see this as the first step toward a Kenya-style mediation process, led by Mr. Annan.
"What this shows is that Zimbabwe may be getting sufficient momentum that we might see a continental [African] approach toward Zimbabwe," says Chris Maroleng, a Zimbabwe expert at the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa. "But I think that any actor will find that it is difficult to engage Zimbabwe. I doubt [Mugabe] would create the space for [Annan] to come in. He would discredit him, calling him a neo-imperialist proxy of the West."