United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

United Nations, United States / United States -

UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Friday called on Zimbabwe rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to send “clear messages of calm” to supporters as election tensions mount.

Ban calls for disputes over Wednesday's vote to be handled “transparently and fairly,” said his spokesman Martin Nesirky.

The 89-year-old Mugabe's ruling party has claimed a landslide win to extend his 33-year-old rule. Tsvangirai has said there was “huge fraud” in the vote.

Ban hopes that the broadly “calm and peaceful atmosphere” of election day “will prevail during the vote counting and throughout the completion of the electoral process,” said Nesirky.

“He recalls the commitment made by the incumbent president and prime minister, as well as other political parties, to ensure peaceful elections and he calls on them to send clear messages of calm to their supporters.”

Ban stressed that “the concerns which have been raised about certain aspects of the electoral process should be pursued through established channels. These concerns should then be considered transparently and fairly. The most important thing is that the will of the people of Zimbabwe is respected,” according to the spokesman. - Sapa-AFP