Mugabe defiant as opposition gains huge support


Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party yesterday warned that President Robert Mugabe would defy all calls for his immediate resignation, even if the results of the weekend parliamentary elections swung against him. Three-quarters of the votes are likely to be counted by the end of today.

As it became apparent that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change had garnered massive support, the government moved to dampen expectations that Mr Mugabe would bow to popular pressure. There would be no change in the composition of his cabinet.

"ZANU-PF will form the government whatever the results," Mr John Nkomo, the party's national chairman, said. "Mugabe can have a cabinet of just five if he wants. Mugabe is an institution." Zimbabwe's constitution gives President Mugabe virtually unlimited powers.