Bring Zim to a standstill – MDC’s Bennett
Johannesburg – A veteran Zimbabwean opposition leader called on Thursday for a campaign to bring the country to a halt, after a disputed election that has seen President Robert Mugabe’s allies claim victory.
“There needs to be resistance against this theft and the people of Zimbabwe need to speak out strongly,” the Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC) Roy Bennett told AFP in Johannesburg.
“I’m talking about passive resistance. I’m talking about people completely shutting the country down – don’t pay any bills, don’t attend work, just bring the country to a standstill.”
Bennett, an aide to Mugabe’s long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai, spends much of his time outside Zimbabwe after a series of arrests.
He remains MDC treasurer.
Mugabe’s allies declared the veteran leader had romped to victory in Wednesday’s poll.
Bennett expressed dismay at an election he described as an “absolute total sham”.
“I’m totally shocked at how badly they’ve rigged it and expect to get away with it.”
“It’s not a case of even rigging it. It’s a case of having totally stolen it. Blatant, outright, daylight theft of the greatest proportions.”
Britain, meanwhile, has expressed concern that Zimbabwe had not enacted important electoral reform before Wednesday’s vote in the former British colony, and by reports that large numbers of voters had been turned away.
“We are also concerned by the late publication of the electoral roll,” a spokesperson for the British Foreign Office told Reuters.
“Any judgement on the credibility of elections will need to take these factors into account.”