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Zimbabwe Electoral Authorities Alleged To Have Moved To Secret Location

Amid reports Zimbabwe's electoral authority had relocated from an election command center to a secret location, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials said they would have no more to say about presidential election results until an opposition request to the nation's high court that it order the release of the results has been resolved.

The electoral commission dismissed reports it has ended operations at the so-called national command center in the Harare International Conference Center, saying that it had simply scaled back its activity after its “successful completion” of tabulations of the house, senate and local election elections held on March 29. The commission has come under heavy fire for failing to announce a winner in the presidential race, allowing President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF to push for a runoff ballot.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai says Tsvangirai won the election outright with at least 50.3% of the vote.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a non-governmental organization, released a statement earlier this week expressing concern at the closure of the commission’s command center before the presidential results had been made public.

Other reports said the commission has moved the command center to an undisclosed location. VOA was unable to reach senior ZEC officials for comment.

Attorney Tafadzwa Mugabe of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, speaking with reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, said the latest excuse from the commission’s for withholding presidential results was "lame."

Meanwhile, members of Tsvangirai's MDC formation staged a demonstration at United Nations headquarters in New York on Friday to protest the extended delay in the release of the presidential election results.

Zvidzai Ruzvidzo, secretary of the Tsvangirai MDC grouping's North American branch, told reporter Carole Gombakomba that U.S.-based activists hoped their appeal to the U.N. and the French, British, Zambian and South African missions would be heeded.

Zimbabwean Ambassador to the United Nations Boniface Chidyausiku said the protest was unwarranted because the election results issue is before the courts.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...