Tsvangirai warns he will be ‘closely monitoring’ Zimbabwe vote


He said vote rigging would only happen if it was allowed by
officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

It was up to them to ensure fair play on July 31, said

“The rigging can only occur when officials at ZEC are
dishonest,” he told thousands of supporters gathered in a stadium in
Gweru, south of the capital Harare.

“We will be closely monitoring this because we have to
protect the vote, we have to protect the voter and we have to protect the
outcome of the vote.”

His warning came as concerns mount that the election will
not be free and fair.

A scheduled early vote by the country’s security forces
descended into chaos as thousands of police and soldiers were unable to vote by
the time the two days of polling closed last Monday evening.

Election officials blamed the disruption on problems associated
with the printing of ballot papers.

“We are concerned that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) fails to print ballot papers so that police and soldiers vote without
chaos,” he said.

“All those issues undermine the integrity of ZEC.

President Robert Mugabe called early elections, hoping to
prolong his 33 years in power.

The crucial vote will end the uneasy power-sharing
government formed by the two leaders in 2009, after a lengthy regional

During his address, Tsvangirai accused Mugabe of plotting to
rig the vote.

He also criticised Mugabe for his recent attacks on the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) mediation team led by South
African President Jacob Zuma.

Mugabe on Saturday accused the bloc of lying about the
political situation in Zimbabwe,
including the country’s preparedness for the vote.

Tsvangirai won the first round of the 2008 vote but failed
to get a clear majority, resulting in a run-off between himself and Mugabe. He
later pulled out of the race citing violence against his supporters.

has been mired in a political crisis which resulted in the collapse of the
economy, following Mugabe’s appropriation of white-owned farms.

Tsvangarai said his government would uphold the rule of law
and promised to compensate the victims of political violence.

“There must be truth. Its only when you say the truth
that you are able to get justice, and without justice you cannot heal,” he

He said his government would provide free education to
primary school children and improve health facilities.

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