The Zimbabwean opposition grouping led by Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday called an "indefinite" general strike starting Tuesday after a Harare judge dismissed a petition asking the court to to order the release of presidential election results.
The decision by Judge Tendai Uchena delivered a serious blow to the Tsvangirai formation of the Movement for Democratic Change, which has maintained since soon after the March 29 presidential and general elections that Tsvangirai won.
Tsvangirai's party urged Zimbabweans to stay away from their jobs or work on Tuesday and continue the strike until the presidential results are released.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's failure to release the presidential results was the focus of a summit by leaders of the Southern African Development Community who met in Lusaka, Zambia, in a marathon session from Saturday to Sunday morning.
The summit urged the Zimbabwean electoral authorities to release the presidential results but signally failed to take the government of President Robert Mugabe to task for the delays which critics say are at the instigation of the ruling party.
Sylvia Manika reported on the MDC news conference calling the general strike.
A range of civic groups including the National Constitutional Assembly, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and the Christian Alliance said they backed the call for a strike. Top officials of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions could not be reached.
National Constitutional Assembly spokesman Maddock Chivasa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that mass action could convince the government and ruling party that it has no choice but to release the results of the March 29th election.