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  Zimbabwe opposition claims victory ahead of results
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ContributorAJ 
Last EditedAJ  Mar 30, 2008 10:36am
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News DateSunday, March 30, 2008 03:55:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionHARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition claimed victory Sunday in a general election even before first results were announced, as the United States branded President Robert Mugabe a disgrace to the whole of Africa.

Despite warnings that a pre-emptive declaration would be seen as tantamount to a coup, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it was the certain winner and had secured nearly all parliamentary seats in the two main cities.

Fearful of post-poll violence, security forces remained on high alert. They arrested 13 activists and two aspiring lawmakers during a punch-up between rival factions of the MDC in Harare, but there was no major unrest.

"This far, short of a miracle, we have won this election beyond any reasonable doubt. We have won this election," MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti told a news conference.

Biti said the party's assessment was based on unofficial returns posted at polling stations where counting had been completed. And he cast doubt on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, a supposedly independent body whose executives are appointed by Mugabe.
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