'Call off Zimbabwe run-off poll right now'

Zimbabwe's presidential run-off vote on June 27 should be called off because a free and fair election "is impossible", a top ruling party defector said in Johannesburg yesterday.

Simba Makoni, formerly of Zanu-PF, challenged President Robert Mugabe in the disputed March elections.

He told journalists that the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, should now negotiate for a transitional government to rule the country for five years.

"We don't believe a run-off can be held on June 27 and be a free and fair election. The country is in the grip of violence.

"The fiscus does not have the money to support an election," Makoni said. "Therefore we believe that a run-off is not necessary. We don't believe the run-off will solve the problems of the country." - Reuters