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Robin Cook MP
"The voter's rolls have been rigged"
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Monday, 26 June, 2000, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Mugabe urged to accept people's will
Election officials explain the procedure in the polling booths
Robin Cook praised the courage and dignity of the voters
UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has warned the government of Zimbabwe that it must accept the verdict of the people in the current elections.

Mr Cook said if the poll were to end in a defeat for President Mugabe's government then "consequences" would follow if the Zanu-PF party made good its threat to remain in power whatever the result.

It is outrageous for anyone in the government to say in advance that they are not going to accept the result

Robin Cook
Voting took place in the southern African state over the weekend and the first results are expected on Monday.

While praising the high turnout in the elections, which have been seriously marred by violence and intimidation, Mr Cook told the BBC: "The voter rolls were rigged and the boundaries were rigged."

"There was systematic brutality intended to deter those voting for change."

He then warned President Mugabe against seeking to prolong his 20-year grip on power should the Movement for Democratic Change secure a majority in parliament.

International pressure

Referring to remarks made by Zanu-PF chairman John Nkomo on Sunday that the government would stay on regardless of the vote, Mr Cook said: "If the people have voted for change and if Mr Nkomo carries out his threat that he has made on behalf of President Mugabe to ignore that vote for change, then there will be consequences.

"Britain will certainly be playing an active part in the international community, including specifically the Commonwealth, to put pressure on Mugabe to accept the will of his people."

Mr Cook also endorsed the finding of the European Union's chief observer, Pierre Schori, who has said the elections can not be described as fair and free.

And the foreign secretary called on the help of the South African government to help put pressure on President Mugabe should the result go against him.

He added: "It is outrageous for anyone in the government to say in advance that they are not going to accept the result."

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See also:

25 Jun 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe poll result warning
24 Jun 00 | Africa
High turnout in Zimbabwe poll
25 Jun 00 | Africa
Eyewitness: Change in the air
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