Commission starts verification of Zimbabwean presidential vote
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission started verifying the results of the country's March 29 presidential election Thursday as police looked for the secretary general of the main opposition party for already announcing results, the state-run Herald reported.
Tendai Biti of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is accused of announcing the results of both the presidential and parliamentary elections held the same day, reported dpa.
The commission said Thursday that it would take three days to verify the presidential result.
The Herald cited police chief Augustine Chihuri's letter to Biti saying his political rhetoric was "urging and abetting political violence."
Biti, who told the media last month that the MDC had won the presidential election, has been out of the country for weeks.
Chihuri's letter reads in part: "The police have been looking for you so that you could assist in investigations surrounding the above- mentioned issue, concerning the electoral laws and other matters, but you were nowhere to be found.
"The only time one sees you is on the international media, making all sorts of unsubstantiated allegations against everybody else and the country, gallivanting all over the world.
"This might be the reason why you are out of touch with the real issues affecting the people on the ground."
According to the Herald, the figures which Biti was quoting add up to 49.1 percent of the vote for the MDC candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, not the 50.3 percent which Biti declared.
A vote of over 50 per cent is required under Zimbabwean law to win the presidential election outright and avoid a run-off vote.
In the same edition the newspaper said the police had arrested 10 members of the opposition MDC in relation to post-election violence.
The paper said the opposition supporters had been arrested in Harare and in Bindura - about 80 kilometres north of the capital - for crimes ranging from public violence, kidnapping, attempted murder to resisting arrest.
The arrests come on the heels of counter-accusations by the opposition that its supporters were being assaulted by senior Zanu-PF members and militia for voting against President Robert Mugabe's party in the March election.
It was unclear whether Tsvangirai would take part in a run-off vote if the commission confirms that he did not achieve more than 50- per-cent of the vote against the background of the claims of violence.