Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mad Bastard claims 'sweeping victory'

In a race of one horse, he "claims" he is heading for a “sweeping victory”. The man is demented along with his bum chum Mbeki.

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Robert Mugabe has said he is heading for a "sweeping victory" in Zimbabwe's unopposed run-off presidential poll.

Officials have scheduled his inauguration for 1300 GMT on Sunday, even though official results are yet to be published.

He was the only candidate after the opposition boycotted the vote amid reports of violence and intimidation.

African observers of the poll have called for fresh elections to be held, saying the vote was not free or fair.

"The returns show that we are winning convincingly, that we have won in all the 26 constituencies in Harare, an MDC stronghold where we won in only one constituency in March.

That is the trend," Mr Mugabe said in footage broadcast on state television. Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), announced he was pulling out of the election last Sunday.

But his name remained on ballot papers after Zimbabwe's electoral authorities refused to accept his decision. Mr Mugabe had invited Mr Tsvangirai to witness his inauguration in a gesture of "engagement", Mr Mugabe's spokesman was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The BBC's Peter Biles, in Johannesburg, says the expectation is that Mr Mugabe will want to declare victory before leaving for a summit of African Union leaders that opens in Egypt on Monday.

The reaction of Zimbabwe's neighbours in southern Africa will be crucial, our correspondent says. An observer team from the Pan-African Parliament on Sunday called on regional grouping Sadc and the African Union to facilitate talks between the government and opposition.

Earlier, the former Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, urged the international community to intervene in Zimbabwe - by force if necessary. He said he would support the deployment of a UN force to restore peace in the country.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme, Archbishop Tutu also said that African Union leaders should refuse to recognise Robert Mugabe as legitimate president of Zimbabwe. "If you were to have a unanimous voice, saying quite clearly to Mr Mugabe... you are illegitimate and we will not recognise your administration in any shape or form - I think that would be a very, very powerful signal and would really strengthen the hand of the international community."

There has also been international outrage at events in Zimbabwe. US President George Bush on Saturday instructed US officials to come up with new sanctions against Zimbabwe, and said the US would press for strong action by the UN.

Mr Mugabe was said to have won by a wide margin, but international observers have reported many spoilt ballots, which in some areas could outnumber votes cast.

Earlier, officials said the count was complete, but later reports said results from rural areas were still trickling in.

The state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper in Harare said President Mugabe was "a man on an assignment" and that "assignment is yet to be completed; hence his continued stay in office".

Reports said tents had already been erected in his State House residence for the ceremony to confirm his sixth term of office.

In interviews published in British newspapers on Sunday, Mr Tsvangirai said he would push for negotiations with Mr Mugabe on a new constitution and fresh elections. "We have the power to control parliament, and that is recognised even by Mugabe's Zanu-PF...

We must force a transitional agreement for a set time-frame and work towards a new constitution for Zimbabwe," he told the Mail on Sunday. "I am confident we can achieve that if international pressure keeps up," he added.

In a separate interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Tsvangirai said it was possible that Mr Mugabe could remain as a ceremonial head of state. "I don't think it's inconceivable for such an arrangement to include him, depending, of course, on the details of what is being proposed and what are the arrangements," he said.

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