by RAY FLEMING
ALTHOUGH Zimbabwe's Electoral Commission has once again put off announcing the result of the presidential election held on 29 March, a statement yesterday from a hitherto reliable government source said that the result was 47-43 percent in favour of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. If that outcome is confirmed it would be necessary in normal circumstances for a run-off election to be held between President Mugabe and Tsvangirai. However, these are not normal circumstances: Tsvangirai, a man who does not lack courage, has said he cannot re-enter Zimbabwe unless the government withdraws the charge of treason it has made against him. In the meantime, appalling violence is being directed by government security and police forces at known supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change. A South African Civil Rights commission has just visited Zimbabwe and reported graphically on the terror that has been let loose by the government. The only possible circumstances in which a “free and fair” run-off election could be held in Zimbabwe would be under United Nations supervision and even this would be difficult to mount with sufficiently widespread coverage. But if no such election takes place Mugabe will simply remain in the presidential seat, no doubt claiming that he has won by default. Fortunately, some progress may be possible at the UN as Britain takes over the Security Council presidency from South Africa this month.