UN chief alarmed at reports of rising violence in Zim

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday expressed alarm at reports of rising violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe and said he was consulting with African leaders on how to help resolve the country’s election crisis.

“I am deeply concerned at reports of rising levels of violence and intimidation” in Zimbabwe, he told reporters.

He said he was consulting with the chief of the African Union, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, AU Commission chief Jean Ping and Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who currently heads the 14-member Southern Africa Development Community, on how best to handle the crisis.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are mulling whether Tsvangirai, who fell just short of the overall majority needed to oust President Robert Mugabe in the first round, would run in the second round.

Tsvangirai has previously said he saw no need for a second round, convinced he won more than 50% in polling on March 29.

However, official results released on Friday, nearly five weeks after polling day, gave him only 47,9% while Mugabe was said to have won 43,2%.

The run-off should in theory be held within three weeks of the declaration of results but the commission has still to set a date. — AFP

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