Mugabe might declare state of emergency

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Zimbabwe’s civil society organisations have petitioned SADC heads of
state to push for the release of full election results. The eighteen organizations fear that the incumbent, president Robert Mugabe’s preparing to declare a state of emergency.

from our correspondent in Harare

They suspect it’s to pre-empt any protests that may arise from the expected announcement of the presidential elections. The organizations want SADC governments to discourage Mugabe from doing so.

This comes as riot police and the army continue to patrol the streets in cities around the country.

Question marks over the outcome of the presidential race are fuelling a sense of anxiety and frustration on the streets of Harare and throughout the country.

Further compounding this unease is the increased movement of riot
police and the army, especially at busy centres like taxi ranks.

Civil society is concerned that the slow release of results – coupled with
the mobilization of security – may signal the prelude to a state of

“They want to prepare society for a very close tie so that they can
manipulate the outcome and in the process. If people want to express themselves, they have already deployed the police, and they’ve already mounted their guns, says Arnold Tsunga, the Chairperson of the Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe.

But police say there’s nothing sinister about their heavy presence.
“There’s no such instruction of a state of emergency, and we’re not
anticipating one,” says police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena.

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