By-Election To Replace Zimbabwe War Veteran Leader Begins
A by-election in Zimbabwe to replace the seat left vacant by the death of the country's controversial war veteran leader, Chenjerai Hunzvi, began peacefully Saturday, ZIANA news agency reported.
Long queues were seen outside several of the 43 polling stations in the Chikomba constituency, in central Zimbabwe, ZIANA said.
The run-up to the poll was marred by violence last week when a headmaster was murdered, allegedly by government supporters.
The two-day election pits Bernard Makokove of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) against main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Oswald Ndanga.
Two other candidates are also running from smaller parties.
ZANU-PF supporters have denied they had any part in the killing of Felix Mazava, headmaster of a school in Chivhu, near Chikomba.
However, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said this week that several MDC militants had been abducted from Chikomba district and "at least four MDC supporters were subsequently tortured."
ZANU-PF has this year won three by-elections in campaigns marked by violence and intimidation.
The Chikomba seat fell vacant after Chenjerai Hunzvi's death in June, allegedly from malaria although the independent media claim he died from AIDS.
Hunzvi spearheaded a campaign of white farm occupations which began in February 2000, and are still continuing.
Results are expected Monday – HARARE (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)