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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 April, 2005, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Mugabe defies ban for Pope burial
President Robert Mugabe voting
Mugabe denies rigging the vote
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has arrived in Rome for the Pope's funeral on Friday despite a European Union travel ban.

Italy is obliged to let him enter under accords with the Vatican, which is legally a separate state.

Mr Mugabe is a Catholic and often attends Mass in Harare's cathedral.

The trip was denounced by one of his leading critics - the Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube. Mr Mugabe's party is accused of rigging last week's poll.

Mr Mugabe and about 100 of his associates were banned from the EU and the US after being accused of using fraud and violence to ensure victory in the 2002 presidential election.

He has nevertheless attended several international summits in both EU countries and the US.


"That man will use any opportunity to fly to Europe to promote himself. The man is shameless," Archbishop Ncube told the Associated Press news agency.

Zanu-PF: 78 seats
MDC: 41 seats
Independent: 1 seat
Elected seats: 120 seats
Seats appointed by the president: 30

AP also reports that Mr Mugabe used a service for the Pope in Harare's cathedral to denounce his western critics on Monday.

Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party won a two-thirds majority in parliament after last week's elections - enough to enable it to change the constitution.

He denied accusations that the polls were rigged as "nonsense".

But on Wednesday, the main opposition party released figures it said proved the elections were tainted by "massive fraud".

The Movement for Democratic Change said that in 11 constituencies, ballot box stuffing accounted for Zanu-PF victories.

It notes that these candidates were mostly ministers or senior party officials.

For example, in Mutare South, it was initially announced that 14,054 votes had been cast, the MDC says.

But the final results showed 28,575 ballots, with 16,412 for Zanu-PF and 12,163 to the MDC.

The MDC says it has been unable to get the breakdown of results countrywide, but this has been denied by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The results were endorsed by Southern African observers but a local group of monitors and western countries said the poll was seriously flawed.

Mr Mugabe says he is the victim of a Western plot, led by the UK in opposition to his seizure of white-owned land.

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