Zimbabwe's Mugabe re-elected, Tsvangirai vows court challenge

HARARE Sat Aug 3, 2013 10:38pm IST

1 of 2. Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe listens at the opening of the summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Johannesburg, August 16, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Hutchings/Files

Related Topics

HARARE (Reuters) - Africa's oldest leader Robert Mugabe was declared winner of Zimbabwe's disputed election on Saturday, while his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai dismissed the result as a fraud and said he would challenge it in court and in regional forums.

Mugabe, 89, who has ruled the former British colony in southern Africa since its independence in 1980, was formally proclaimed re-elected for a five-year term barely an hour after Tsvangirai announced his planned legal challenge.

"We are going to go to court, we are going to go to the AU (African Union), we are going to go to the SADC (Southern African Development Community)," Tsvangirai angrily told a news conference in Harare. He rejected the result as "fraudulent".

While African observers have already broadly approved Wednesday's peaceful vote, independent domestic monitors have described it as deeply flawed by registration problems that may have disenfranchised up to a million people.

Western observers were kept out by Harare.

In its strongest criticism so far of the poll, the European Union said on Saturday it was concerned about alleged irregularities and a lack of transparency in the election.

The EU's verdict on the fairness of the vote will be crucial to deciding whether it continues to ease sanctions on the southern African country. These were originally imposed because of previous accusations of vote-rigging and abuses of power made against Mugabe and his followers.

Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, which the official results show won a more than two-thirds majority in parliament, has rejected the latest allegations of massive vote-rigging and intimidation made against it by Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Zimbabwe's Election Commission announced Mugabe had soundly beaten Tsvangirai in the presidential contest with just over 61 percent of the votes, against nearly 34 percent for Tsvangirai.

"Mugabe, Robert Gabriel, of ZANU-PF party, is therefore declared duly elected President of the Republic of Zimbabwe with effect of today," commission head Rita Makarau told a news conference, drawing cheers from ZANU-PF supporters.

Tsvangirai, who had been serving as Prime Minister in a fractious unity government under Mugabe, said his party would present evidence in court to back its charges that the July 31 vote was a "monumental fraud" engineered by ZANU-PF.

"I thought this election was going to resolve this political crisis. It has not. It has failed. It has plunged the country back to where it was," Tsvangirai said.

He has called on the African Union and SADC to investigate the vote, calling it "null and void" and "not credible".

But he faces an uphill struggle to convince the regional bodies, as their observers have already publicly endorsed the election as free and peaceful, while acknowledging minor problems.

Adding to the controversy surrounding the election, one member of Zimbabwe's nine-member Electoral Commission, Mkhululi Nyathi, has resigned since the vote, citing doubts about the integrity of the results.

Tsvangirai's MDC said on Friday it could take to the streets to challenge ZANU-PF's claim of a landslide victory, made less than 24 hours after the polls had closed on Wednesday.

(Additional reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa in Harare and Xola Potelwa in Johannesburg; Writing by Cris Chinaka and Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Xola Potelwa and Pascal Fletcher)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

OBAMA'S VISIT

Reuters Showcase

Obama's India Trip

Obama's India Trip

Unlikely buddies Obama and Modi aim high on India trip.  Full Article 

Japanese Hostages

Japanese Hostages

Japan condemns apparent IS execution, demands hostage release.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Pro-Russian rebels attack key port; Ukraine says at least 30 dead.  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Bouchard beats Begu to reach quarter-finals.  Full Article 

Row over Film

Row over Film

Group says 'American Sniper' film spurs threats against Muslims.  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

Dolly ki Doli is a breezy watch, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar.  Full Article | Related Story 

Akshay Kumar's Latest

Akshay Kumar's Latest

"Baby" is a smartly written, well-acted film  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage