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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zimbabwe's Opposition Plays It Safe

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, ruled out organizing demonstrations against what he called the "fraudulent'' results of last week's parliamentary elections, saying his party could not mount a protest large enough to force President Robert Mugabe from power.

In an interview at his home Sunday, Tsvangirai said widespread discrepancies in the official results from Thursday's elections indicated that Mugabe's party had rigged the voting in rural areas. Tsvangirai has alleged that the ruling party intimidated voters, doctored voter rolls with phony names and used food aid in drought-stricken areas to win support.

Yet Tsvangirai rejected calls from some of his supporters for demonstrations, saying that police would shut down roads to prevent protesters from reaching the country's main cities. Those who made it, he said, would face police violence and arrest, hurting the long-term prospects for growing the opposition party. He said the party would instead focus on seeking new supporters in Mugabe's rural strongholds.

"It's one thing to be courageous and another thing to make reckless decisions in a way that won't be sustainable," said Tsvangirai. "We have to be realistic."