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Wednesday, 13 March, 2002, 15:09 GMT
Zimbabwe election diary - Results Day
The BBC's Grant Ferrett
The BBC's Grant Ferrett is reporting on the Zimbabwe elections from Beitbridge, on the South African-Zimbabwe border - since the BBC is banned from reporting in Zimbabwe itself:


Wednesday 13 March

Up at 0330 after a night interrupted by friends phoning from Zimbabwe. Happy to be woken by them.

They've watched the first results on TV and have no doubt that President Mugabe will win. Wish I could be with them in Harare.

They've put up with a huge amount of uncertainty, economic hardship and state-backed violence in the last couple of years.

About a third of the results are in when I file my first piece, picking up from Liz Blunt in the Jo'burg office who was up most of the night.

Awkward moment when about to go on air just as another batch of results are announced. Makes little difference, the trend is the same - overwhelming backing for President Mugabe in rural areas outweighs urban support for Morgan Tsvangirai.

Out of reach

Almost impossible to get phone calls through to Zimbabwe, but a few calls reach me. One friend wonders aloud if he can stay in the country any longer.

Another emails me to report trouble in a Harare suburb. People are staying indoors.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Tsvangirai vows to fight on
Listen to radio interview with government minister John Nkomo, who's on air immediately after me. Sounds like even less of a morning person than me.

Asked by presenter in London about the fact that security forces have apparently been deployed, he says they have to be ready for any eventuality.

Hilary Andersson charges past in a cloud of hairspray. Shouts down from the TV platform: "They're asking me if President Mugabe's been declared the winner. Has he?"

Everyone runs around trying to check. Confirmation comes just in time.

Snake scare

I'm desperate for something to eat. Probably not as desperate as a lot of Zimbabweans.

Still no word from the victor. Word does come though from the South African observer mission. Receive e-mail of official statement just before TV pictures. The election is legitimate because the opposition took part.

Someone in the portacabin says Gavin Hewitt found a cobra in the loo last night. Don't have time to confirm that one.

Depressed -looking opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai holds news conference.

Again, the TV pictures come pretty quickly. Describes the election as "daylight robbery."

Reads his official statement: "We pledge not to abandon the people in their hour of greatest need. We remain firmly committed to a democratic and peaceful path which we shall pursue to the end. Together we will complete the change for a better life for all Zimbabweans."

   Day Six


Grant Ferrett is a former BBC Zimbabwe correspondent.

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