Page last updated at 17:53 GMT, Saturday, 29 March 2008

Zimbabwe election day: In quotes

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe voting on 29 March 2008
Mr Mugabe blames Zimbabwe's problems on a Western plot
What some of the key players have been saying on election day in Zimbabwe

President Robert Mugabe: "We will succeed. We will conquer. We don't rig elections, you see; we have that sense of honesty. And I cannot sleep with my conscience if I have cheated on elections. Why should I cheat? The people are there supporting us, day in, day out."

Opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai: "I want to assure you that the people's victory is assured, in spite of the regime's attempt to subvert the people's will through other fraudulent activities that have been unearthed, a million votes in Marambapfungwe, 33 ghost polling stations in Mashona central, and others. In spite of all that, I can tell you that we are absolutely confident that the outcome will be for the people."

Morgan Tsvangirai votes in Harare
Morgan Tsvangirai said "victory is assured"

Independent candidate Simba Makoni "I feel good, I voted for the best candidate, I voted for Simba Makoni."

Zimbabwe Election Commission Chairperson George Chiweshe: "As far as I'm concerned we afforded everyone who wished to vote the opportunity to do so freely and secretly."

Opposition official Tendai Biti: "There have been a number of blatant breaches of the law. For instance, the fact that our election agents are not being allowed inside polling stations, in terms of section 55 of the electoral act. The fact that hundreds of Zimbabweans are being turned away on the basis that they are aliens."

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack: "There are a lot of big question marks hanging over this election in terms of the integrity of the electoral process."

Mark Ellis, executive director, London-based International Bar Association: "There are signs that voters are losing their patience with fraudulent elections, which could lead to violence."

Zimbabwean newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube: "Rigging is not an event, it's a process. Rigging does not take place in one day, rigging takes place over time. And the environment in Zimbabwe over the past 10 years has been an environment that's been rigged to ensure that the incumbent wins. The voting day and the counting of ballots sees the climax of the rigging. But the process takes place over a long period of time. Look at the terrain before, look at the terrain during, but, much more importantly, look at the counting - that's where most of the rigging takes place.

Zimbabwe's ambassador to Mozambique Agripa Mutambara: "At every ballot station there are representatives from all the participants, you know, the participating parties. And when the ballot boxes are closed, they escort their ballot boxes to the place where they are counted, so there is no way in which the government can bring in ballot boxes from outside."


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