Zimbabwean´s Plea: "Don´t Abandon Us"

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, MARCH 17, 2002 (Zenit.org).- An archbishop appealed to the international community not to abandon Zimbabwe in the wake of Robert Mugabe´s much-disputed victory in the presidential election, Independent Catholic News reported.

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According to the results released, longtime President Mugabe, 78, won the March 9-10 elections with 52% of the vote.

As his swearing-in today for another six-year term, Mugabe took the occasion to assail colonialism and imperialism, and he urged other African leaders to support him against hostile Western nations.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai accused the government of reducing the number of polling stations in opposition strongholds, of opening the polls late and closing them early. Elsewhere, representatives of Mugabe´s ruling party intimidated voters, Tsvangirai contended.

Churches, nongovernmental organizations and civic groups condemned the elections as flawed, chaotic and confused. The United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand accused Mugabe of election fraud. Independent observers recorded irregularities in the electoral process.

Archbishop Pius Ncube of Matabeleland appealed to the international community not to “abandon us” and complained about violence against voters. He urged respect for human rights, elimination of corruption, and expenditure of the country´s resources for the good of the people.

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