Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe will accept the result of a presidential run-off, Senegal's foreign minister said. This comes after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai claimed a decisive victory and rejected a second round. (Report: M.Henbest)
Robert Mugabe is ready to participate in a presidential run-off and will accept the result, Senegal's foreign minister said late Thursday after meeting with Zimbabwe's veteran leader to discuss a tense poll stand-off.
Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, who met with Mugabe on Thursday in Harare, pressed upon him the urgent need to divulge the results of the March 29 presidential election, a foreign ministry statement said.
It said Gadio also underscored the need to "take the path of conciliation and reconciliation," and added that Mugabe had agreed to stand for a run-off "in good faith and the firm will to accept the will of the people delivered in a free and fair election."
According to the statement, Mugabe had assured Gadio that he would "unhesitatingly accept the results of the second round and urged the opposition to take the same approach."
Zimbabwean election officials told a closed-door meeting in Harare on Thursday that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won 47.8 percent and Mugabe had got 43.2 percent of the vote, several sources present at the talks told the news service, AFP.
But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party presented its own figures claiming Tsvangirai had won 50.3 percent, just scraping past the threshold needed to avoid a second round run-off, the sources added.
Tsvangirai, whose party wrested control of parliament from Mugabe's ZANU-PF party in legislative polls also held on March 29, said he won a "decisive" victory and doubted the credibility of any official results given the delays.
A first-round defeat would be a major blow to Mugabe, a former guerrilla leader and hero of Africa's national liberation movements who has ruled the former British colony since independence in 1980.
Already reeling from his party losing parliament for the first time in 28 years, it would leave him at his weakest point since coming to power amid a spiraling economic crisis in Zimbabwe, where inflation is at 165,000 percent.
However, his control of the security apparatus has led the MDC to conclude that he will intimidate voters into giving him a sixth term in office in a run-off, which should take place within three weeks of results being announced.
Date created : 2008-05-02