than 50 protesting Zimbabweans were beaten up and 11 members of the
activist organisation, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), were arrested in
the country's second city, Bulawayo, on 5 May, according to a WOZA
"We demonstrated ahead of Mothers Day to call for an
end to political violence," WOZA National Coordinator Jenni Williams
told IRIN. "Riot police came upon us indiscriminately - the driver of
the police vehicle just drove into the crowd," Williams alleged.
"Others were injured by police, who beat them with batons."
said the raid was extremely chaotic. She alleged that police beat her
into a police vehicle, then demanded what she was doing in the vehicle
and beat her out again. According to WOZA, the 59 injured people were
receiving care at a private clinic, but the whereabouts of the 11
people who were arrested was yet to be established.
spokesman in Bulawayo said they were unable to confirm the arrests and
referred IRIN to the national police headquarters in the capital,
Harare. Despite repeated attempts, IRIN was unable to contact the
police in Harare.
said: "We are calling on the Chief Election Officer to declare [leader
of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change Morgan] Tsvangirai the
winner. We believe the results [released last week] were rigged; we
don't believe them."
According to the results declared by the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), none of the presidential
candidates managed to get the required majority of 50 percent plus one:
Tsvangirai received 47.9 percent, while President Robert Mugabe polled
"No candidate received a majority of the total
number of votes cast, which means a second election shall be held on a
date to be advised by the ZEC," said Lovemore Sekeramayi, ZEC election
officer for the presidential ballot.
"According to the
Electoral Act, the two candidates who received the highest and next
highest numbers of valid votes cast shall be eligible to contest in the
second election. Accordingly, Tsvangirai and Mugabe are eligible to
contest in the second election."
While the Electoral Act
states that a presidential election re-run has to be held within 21
days of the results being announced, the ZEC has been vague about when
the run-off will be held, keeping Zimbabweans on tenterhooks.
chairperson George Chiweshe told the media at the weekend that the ZEC
board would meet "as soon as possible" to discuss the date for the
run-off, and the logistical arrangements for holding another election -
an expense the impoverished state can ill afford.
which lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since Zimbabwe
gained independence in 1980, has announced that it is already preparing
for a run-off. According to MDC vice-president Thokozani Khupe, the
party's hand is being forced to participate in a second presidential
Late on 5 May, MDC officials were locked in a
meeting to consider lodging an application in the High Court in Harare
to get the ZEC to verify the results, which might yet make a
presidential run-off unnecessary.
Luke Tamborinyoka, the MDC
director of information, told IRIN: "One of the conditions that we
would propose in the event of a run-off is that the election will have
to be supervised by the United Nations, the African Union and the
Southern African Development Community."