The United States, Britain and the European Union called for a quick and fair count of all of the votes from last weekend's presidential poll as counting delays fuel suspicions of rigging. (Report: K.Spencer)
The United States urged Zimbabwe's electoral commission on Monday to put aside any partisan sympathies and ensure all votes were fairly and properly counted from last weekend's presidential poll.
State Department spokesman Tom Casey pointed to a long list of irregularities in the run-up to Saturday's poll, including an over-printing of ballot papers, which he predicted could make vote counting "problematic".
"We strongly encourage the Zimbabwean electoral commission to do the right thing and honor the will of the Zimbabwean people and to make sure that only the votes cast are counted," Casey told reporters.
"It is no secret that the Zimbabwean electoral commission has a partisan cast to it and we would certainly hope that regardless of the partisan sympathies of any members of that commission, that they would again follow the letter and spirit of the law," he added.
Latest counts showed Zimbabwe's opposition to be level with President Robert Mugabe.
Asked to comment on the elections at the weekend, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters: "The Mugabe regime is a disgrace to the people of Zimbabwe and a disgrace to southern Africa and to the continent of Africa as a whole."
Casey and other U.S. officials declined to comment specifically on the election results released so far and said they were waiting for a clearer picture to emerge.
"We want to wait and see what results the Zimbabwean electoral commission does produce," said Casey.
Asked whether he was worried about the possibility of post-electoral violence in Zimbabwe, as happened after the disputed Kenyan election last December, Casey said violence did not serve anyone's interests.
"At the same time, we understand that the Zimbabwean people have suffered greatly under President Mugabe's leadership. We have seen many instances where the will of the people has been thwarted," said Casey.
"We are concerned about the situation and we certainly hope the election results as reported by the Zimbabwean electoral commission do in fact match the will of the Zimbabwean people," he added,
Date created : 2008-03-31