Page last updated at 11:26 GMT, Monday, 21 April 2008 12:26 UK

Zimbabwe election recount delayed

Zimbabwean police guard ballot boxes on 19 April 2008 at Murombedzi, 100 km north-west of Harare
The recount could overturn the opposition's newly-won majority

The outcome of a partial recount of last month's disputed elections in Zimbabwe has been delayed.

The recount in 23 out of 210 seats was due to finish on Monday, but election officials said it would take longer.

The MDC opposition, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, says the recount is illegal and claims it beat Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF outright in the 29 March polls.

Meanwhile, a labour group said it believed a Chinese arms ship bound for Zimbabwe may be heading to Angola.

The International Transport Workers' Federation told the BBC it was mobilising workers at African ports to stop the vessel unloading.

It left South Africa last week after dock workers there refused to unload its cargo, amid fears that President Mugabe has ordered the weapons to crush the opposition.

'War zone'

BBC southern Africa correspondent Peter Biles says the longer the election result is delayed, the more suspicion grows the outcome is being manipulated.

The ongoing recount could overturn the Movement for Democratic Change's newly-won parliamentary majority and trigger a run-off vote.

The MDC accuses the government of having tampered with ballot boxes.

There is still no indication of when the results of the presidential contest will be released.

The MDC says Zimbabwe is like a "war zone" because of violence against opposition supporters.

It says thousands of people have been displaced, hundreds injured and 10 killed in post-election bloodshed. The government denies the claims.


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