Sunday, March 30, 2008

'Barring a Miracle, Mugabe Can't Win'

A torn poster of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since it gained independence in 1980 and is running for a sixth term in office. John Moore/Getty

If early results are any indication, there is hope the vile Robert Mugabe is on his way out in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has lost elections, the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party said, citing early results posted at polling stations. The official outcome hasn't been announced.

The party, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, garnered 67 percent of the 30 percent of votes so far counted, Secretary General Tendai Biti said in an interview today from Harare, Zimbabwe's capital. The MDC leads in Mashonaland Central province and won a majority in the province of Masvingo, both strongholds of Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party, he said.

``This is just an example of what we're getting from every province,'' Biti said. ``Barring a miracle, Mugabe can't win.''

Vote counting began last night as Mugabe, 84, seeks to extend his rule of the southern African nation, which he has led since ousting the white-minority government of the country then known as Rhodesia in 1980. A program started in 2000 of seizing white-owned farms, which bolstered Mugabe's rural support, sparking a decade of recession and the world's highest inflation rate of 100,580 percent.

Tsvangirai, 56, and Simba Makoni, a 58-year-old former finance minister, were Mugabe's main challengers. Final results may only be known later this week.

``It would be a massive, massive development for Zimbabwe and the region'' if Mugabe lost, said Anne Fruehauf, an analyst at Control Risks in London. ``The next few days will be very crucial in terms of whether a crisis momentum will build.''
More from Time.

Overview of counting.

Condi Rice calls Mugabe a disgrace.

Delays in results cause concern.

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