Bloggers have field day on

Bloggers mixed wild rumours with humour yesterday as Zimbabweans waited on tenterhooks for the result of the most crucial election since independence.

Bloggers mixed wild rumours with humour yesterday as Zimbabweans waited on tenterhooks for the result of the most crucial election since independence.

The opposition MDC and ruling Zanu-PF were running neck-and-neck in first parliamentary results issued by the electoral commission - 36 hours after polls closed.

Many bloggers shared opposition suspicions that the delay meant Robert Mugabe was trying to rig the result to extend his 28 years in power.

"Across the country Zimbabweans agree that the MDC has trounced Zanu-PF, but they don't believe (correctly) that this automatically translates into Mugabe handing over the keys to State House, and his black Mercedes," wrote a blogger called Bev Clark on http://kubatanablogs.net/kubatana/ - an online community of Zimbabwean activists.

Even in cyberspace the tension of waiting for the results began to tell.

"It's late, and if I watch (MDC secretary general) Tendai Biti making the same comments on the same report they have been running since this morning, I am going to do grievous bodily harm to the next person who walks through the door," one blogger wrote on thisiszimbabwe- http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/.

Writing on Sunday, poet Samm Farai Monro, better known as Comrade Fatso, told on his blog http://comradefatso.vox.com/ of wild rumours flying around the capital Harare.

"The streets are waiting. We woke today to rumours of Mugabe fleeing to Malaysia and news of the MDC press conference.

"We carried our babarazi'd (hungover) selves to the conference after a night of ragga at downtown Harare's Tube Nightclub. According to the MDC's counting process, they are way ahead in the polls. Victory is on people's lips. But so is rigging."

Zimbabwe's crumbling economy was also widely discussed. Clark described searching for an Easter egg in Harare, where most shop shelves are bare. Official inflation is more than 100 000 percent and the currency is virtually worthless.

"A hunt like you've never seen before - I stopped at three supermarkets where there were no eggs of any kind, no bread, no milk.

"In fact, not much of anything at all. What we do have on our shelves are very expensive South African imports when what we need are reasonably priced Zimbabwean products.

Instead of an Easter egg, I bought a packet of Simba Mexican Chilli chips for Z$100million (R16)," Clark wrote.

Many bloggers' comments on the Botswana-based news website http://zimbabwemetro.com related to fears that the elections might be rigged. - Reuters

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