How far, Mugabe?

The big question this minute in Harare is how far Mugabe and his gang are willing to go. The first signs are coming from the police forces.

Armed police in Zimbabwe have prevented lawyers from the opposition MDC from entering the high court to file a petition on the presidential elections. Lawyer Alec Muchadehama said the police had threatened to shoot them.

The MDC wants the court to force officials to release the result of last Saturday’s poll. It says its leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the ballot. His opponent President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has said it will back him if a run-off is called. The police apparently came from presidential offices across the street; tell the lawyers no-one could enter the court. Another opposition lawyer, Andrew Makoni, later said the hearing – originally scheduled for 1200 local time (1000 GMT) – had been postponed until Sunday.

Zimbabwean Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga accused the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) of spreading false and malicious reports to get international sympathy. He said police had probably been trying to contain the party’s rowdy supporters. The MDC has also called for international help to prevent possible violence if a second round is held.


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