Peter Hoskin

Is the curtain falling on Mugabe?

Is the curtain falling on Mugabe?
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The results of yesterday's elections in Zimbabwe aren't due out for few more days.  But the opposition MDC party is already claiming victory.  According to their own counts at polling stations, they've "massacred" Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party.  Says the MDC secretary general:

"We've won this election.  The results coming in show that in our traditional strongholds we are massacring them.  In Mugabe's traditional strongholds they are doing very badly.  There is no way Mugabe can claim victory unless it is through fraud.  He has lost this election."

It's a risky move.  On the one hand, it takes the fight squarely to Mugabe - almost daring him to fiddle the results.  But on the other, the MDC have left themselves open to claims of electoral malpractice.  It won't be beyond the existing regime to exploit this to swing things Mugabe's way.  Ominously, Zimbabwe's police force and electoral commission are already wading into the debate.