President Robert Mugabe’s government has its own presidential election results showing a run-off will be necessary, a Cabinet minister says.
Deputy information minister Bright Matonga’s comments came a day after Zimbabwe’s opposition rejected a run-off, despite a media report that the official tally – still awaited more than a month after the vote – showed its candidate beat Mugabe, but not by enough to avoid a second round.
Mr Matonga said Mugabe’s party would take part in a run-off.
“As far as I’m concerned, there is going to be a run-off,” Mr Matonga said. “We have got our own results.”
Mugabe has pledged to accept the verdict of any run-off vote and called on the opposition to do the same, Senegalese officials said yesterday.
Senegal’s foreign minister flew to Zimbabwe earlier this week to help mediate the country’s growing political crisis. He met Mugabe for two hours yesterday and urged the quick release of results more than a month after the vote, according to a Senegalese government statement.
“Mugabe reassured president Wade that he will accept the results of the second round without any hesitation and invited the opposition to pledge the same,” Senegalese foreign minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio said in the statement.
On Wednesday, CNN quoted an unidentified senior official with Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party as saying results from the March 29 election gave opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai 47% of the votes, while Mugabe trailed with 43%.
Mr Matonga would not say whether the CNN report was correct or give details about the figures he said the government has. But he said no-one won the 50% plus one vote needed to avoid a run-off.
Independent observers have been saying that Mr Tsvangirai won the most votes, but not enough to avoid a runoff. Mr Tsvangirai insists he won outright.
Individual polling stations have posted results, allowing parties and others to compile their own tallies while the nation awaits official results from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Mr Tsvangirai and rights groups have accused Mugabe of withholding the results to buy time to steal a runoff through intimidation or fraud.
Electoral commission officials said late on Wednesday that no official results had been released and that party officials would not see them until a verification process began. The verification process, at which party officials were to review figures, began yesterday afternoon.
Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai sent representatives, and independent candidate Simba Makoni attended himself. Journalists were allowed to inside for only a few minutes as the process began, and were given no indication when it would be completed.
In Johannesburg, South Africa, Tsvangirai spokesman George Sibotshiwe reiterated on Wednesday that the opposition would not take part in a run-off because it believed only fraudulent results would deny Mr Tsvangirai outright victory.
“If Robert Mugabe cannot accept the real results now, what’s the guarantee he’ll accept the real results after a run-off?” Mr Sibotshiwe said.