Zimbabwe Opposition Claims Victory

Early pronouncement will be dealt with as a 'coup'
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2008 6:20 AM CDT
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, casts his vote on election day in Harare, Zimbabwe, Saturday, March 29, 2008.    (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
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(Newser) – The Zimbabwe opposition is claiming victory in national elections to unseat long-time leader Robert Mugabe—but government authorities quickly warned that premature pronouncements would be dealt with harshly. "It is called a coup d'etat and we all know how coups are handled," warned a government spokesman. Authorities plan to announce official results today. President Mugabe faced the most formidable opposition in his 28-year reign in yesterday's elections.

Though he appeared destined to lose, Mugabe is expected to be declared the winner amid complaints of vote rigging. The Mugabe regime harassed the opposition and threatened to cut off food supplies to voters who didn't back the ruling party, according to Amnesty International. The world's highest inflation rate is crushing the nation, already devastated by an HIV/AIDS epidemic.