US official says Zimbabwe in crisis, calls for justice

Other News Materials 30 April 2008 02:12

The US ambassador Tuesday said the delay to release results from Zimbabwe's March elections has created a humanitarian crisis through violence, and called for its perpetrators to account for their actions.

Washington's ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, told reporters that the international community has identified victims and also perpetrators, the dpa reported.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has refused to release the results of the March 29 vote, despite intense pressure from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the international community.

"It started as a political crisis with the (ZEC's) delay to release the presidential results, but it is now a humanitarian crisis or human rights issue with the level of violence taking place (in the) countryside and in the high density suburbs," said McGee.

As the four-week wait for presidential results wore on, tension has been rising and violence has flared in rural areas with the ruling Zanu PF and the MDC trading accusations of who is behind it.

The MDC claims that at least 10 of its supporters have been killed. The Geneva-based Human Rights council said Tuesday in New York that several political murders had occurred, and at least 351 people had been hospitalized for injuries related to political violence.

McGee said violence was mainly coming from people who were not happy with the way others voted.

"I have seen a 75-year-old grandmother who was beaten simply because her relative stood on an MDC ticket," he said.

"Judging from the figures that were shown outside the polling stations it is clear that people of Zimbabwe have voted for change," McGee said.

McGee reiterated the US position that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had beaten President Robert Mugabe in the March 29 election.

He, however, said he was not sure if Tsvangirai had attained the required outright majority.

"That is the duty of the electoral commission," said McGee.

In New York, the United Nations Security Council was unable to agree on mounting a fact-finding or other kind of mission to Zimbabwe, with the 15 members split on the issue. South Africa, Zimbabwe's neighbour which currently chairs the council, has defended Mugabe's handling of the election aftermath, calling it an internal matter.