zim recount drags on

MacDonald Dzirutwe

MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE - A partial recount of Zimbabwe's disputed March 29 election could take longer than the three days originally planned, an official said yesterday, dragging out a political stalemate that has raised fears of violence.

The recount in 23 of 210 constituencies, which began on Saturday, could overturn the results of the parliamentary election, which showed President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF losing its majority to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for the first time.

"There were some delays yesterday and I am not sure whether the results will be available after three days as initially indicated. It might be more than that," said Utoile Silaigwana, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's deputy chief election officer.

"What I can confirm is that the process started smoothly today," he said. "But again, I cannot say how many polling stations have been counted. That information could be available by the end of today."

The MDC says it won the elections fair and square and the recount is illegal. The party said on Saturday it will reject the recount's results. - Reuters