Zimbabwe: Gov’t Raids Opposition Party Offices, Arrests Journalists

150 150 Rapaport News

RAPAPORT…  President Robert Mugabe’s military raided offices of his political opposition moments ago in Harare.

Yesterday the state-run newspaper, The Herald, predicted that Mugabe had won about 40 percent of the vote, which was not enough to declare victory. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC,) Mugabe’s main opposition, was estimated to have 49 percent of the vote. Zimbabwe’s constitution calls for a winning majority of at least 50 percent plus 1 vote. The newspaper predicted there would be a run-off election within three weeks.

“It is quite clear he has unleashed a war,” Tendai Biti of Movement for Democratic Change told the Associated Press.

Biti said the raid at the Meikles Hotel targeted “certain people … including myself.” Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was “safe” but canceled plans for a news conference, he said.

Biti said Thursday’s clampdown was a sign of worse to follow but that the opposition would not go into hiding.

Military police in riot gear also surrounded the hotel where journalists were known to stay while covering the current political race. Police rounded up journalists who were not authorized to work in  Zimbabwe. Reports differ on the number of journalists arrested (as many as four,) and there was no further word on their fate.

Zimbabwe banned many foreign journalists from covering the elections. Of the larger media organizations CNN and the BBC are barred from reporting inside the country and use stringers, but the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and South Africa-based media outlets have been granted permission to report. 
Additional reporting by Dialog NewsEdge

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