HARARE - A Zimbabwe government spokesman yesterday vowed that embattled President Robert Mugabe would fight tooth and nail to retain the presidency despite Zanu-PF's defeat in parliamentary elections.
"President Mugabe is going to fight to the last," deputy information minister Bright Matonga said.
Party sources insisted it was not over for Mugabe and that he would win in the presidential vote.
"There may not be a clear winner of the presidential one [vote) and it points to a re-run," Matonga said.
"From Zanu-PF's perspective, we are very confident that we've got the numbers when it comes to a re-run. We're ready for that second round and we are confident that President Robert Mugabe will win this time," he said.
But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, had won an absolute majority in the presidential vote and that no re-run was necessary.
Mugabe, meanwhile, reportedly admitted to family and advisers that he had lost and was weighing up whether to throw in the towel or to contest a run-off.
He appeared in public yesterday for the first time since elections on Saturdaywhen he met the head of an African Union election observer team at his residence in Harare.
"He looked very relaxed, and is of the view that the problems of the country will be resolved amicably, and he is very relaxed about it," Sierra Leone's former president, Ahmad Tejah Kabbah, said.
But Jonathan Moyo, Mugabe's former information minister who is now an independent in parliament, said the authorities were not coping well with defeat.
Security chiefs, who have said they would not accept an opposition victory, were anxious.
"You have generals who unwisely, or rather foolishly, told the world that they would only salute one candidate, who happens to have lost the election," Moyo said.
Officials said yesterday results were expected soon from the senate election.
They said the presidential outcome would not be released until after that.
The senate has 66 seats, six of them appointed by Mugabe. It has the power to block legislation from the lower house.
The Zimbabwean constitution concentrates much power in the president and parliament has been seen as a rubber stamp body.
Final results of the election for parliament's lower house showed the MDC had won 99 seats. Zanu-PF won 97 and a breakaway MDC faction won 10. One independent candidate won a seat.
Hopes of a peaceful transition helped lift the rand yesterday as investors saw positive developments in the region. - Reuters