Riot police deployed in Zimbabwe

Thousands of police have been sent into flash-point areas ahead of Wednesday's vote.

The elections are a battle between President Robert Mugabe (R) and Morgan Tsvangirai (L). Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - Heavily armed riot police have been deployed in potential election flash-points in Zimbabwe on the eve of the country's elections.

The heated political battle between President Robert Mugabe, of Zanu-PF, and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC continued while each tries to gain full control of the government after five years of coalition rule.

State radio is reporting that thousands of officers have been sent to the central Midlands province while trucks carrying automatic rifles and grenade launchers are patrolling in Harare townships.

The run-down districts of the capital are hotbeds of support for Tsvangirai and were at the centre of several weeks of post-election violence in 2008.

During the violence, 200 people linked to Tsvangirai's MDC were killed.

Meanwhile, the ANC has wished the people of Zimbabwe well as they prepare to vote.

Head of ANC communications, Keith Khoza, said the party hoped the elections would be a success for the country.

"We wish them successful elections. We hope that they will be fair, open, transparent and violence-free."


Tsvangirai's party reported on Sunday that top party official Morgan Komichi, its deputy national chairperson, was arrested in Harare, three days before this week's elections.

Addressing thousands of supporters in Chinhoyi on Saturday, Tsvangirai said Mugabe had stolen the elections in 2002 and 2008.

Tsvangirai warned Mugabe not to "steal" the vote on Wednesday, so that his veteran rival can exit office with dignity.

After two previous polls condemned by observers as unfair, Tsvangirai is vying to end Mugabe's 33-year rule and a four-year shaky coalition, forced after the chaotic elections in 2008.

Meanwhile, Mugabe has urged Zimbabweans to vote peacefully.


The county's Education Minister David Coltart said on Tuesday the country's electoral process has been riddled with problems in the run up to the polls.

Coltart admitted there have been problems.

"We haven't yet received the electronic voters' roll and there have been other signs of sheer chaos. For example, when we had the special votes for the armed forces they didn't deliver the right number of ballots."

The MDC fears Mugabe has doctored the list of eligible voters to ensure he beats his rival.

Wrapping up his campaign on Monday, Tsvangirai complained that he is yet to see a list of eligible voters.

The MDC has prepared court papers in an attempt to secure the list today.