UN urges MDC to use “established channels"

HARARE - Zimbabwe yesterday released its full and official results for a disputed election in which President Robert Mugabe’s party romped to victory, and as the opposition held emergency talks over the “sham” polls.

Full results showed Mugabe’s Zanu PF party had won two-thirds majority in Parliament required to press ahead with controversial amendments to the Constitution.

“We have already gone beyond two-thirds. It’s a super majority,” a top party official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told AFP: “Our opponents don’t know what hit them”as it emerged 89-year-old Mugabe had won 61percent in the presidential vote.

Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which described the vote as a “sham”, went into an emergency national executive committee meeting yesterday to decide its next course of action and rejected the results.

The MDC has vowed not to accept the election results, sparking fears of a repeat of bloody violence that marked the aftermath of the 2008 election.

“Emotions are high, tensions are high across the country,” MDC top official Nelson Chamisa said.

While on the country’s streets things have remained calm, the UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged both political rivals to send “clear messages of calm” to their supporters.

A senior MDC official, speaking on condition of anonymity, painted a picture of the party’s dilemma amid its claims the election was stolen by Zanu PF.

“We cannot tell people to be calm,” said the source.

Another senior party official dismissed speculation that the MDC is being offered a few posts in government.

The influential 15-member southern African bloc Sadc also implored “all Zimbabweans to exercise restraint, patience and calm”.

Observers appeared divided over the poll conduct.

The African Union’s top poll observer, Olusegun Obasanjo, said shortly after polling stations closed that the election had been “peaceful, orderly, free and fair”.

The Sadc stopped short of declaring it “fair” but said it was “free and peaceful”.

“We have said this election is free, indeed very free,” said top Sadc election observer Bernard Membe.

“We did not say it was fair ... we didn’t want to jump to a conclusion at this point in time.”  Membe on Friday met Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for three decades, to “wish him good luck as he is preparing himself for the inauguration”, he told later told journalists.

He said he would try to convince Tsvangirai to concede defeat.

Sadc negotiated the creation of a power-sharing government in the wake of 2008’s bloody poll.

With 600 observers on the ground, Sadc’s verdict and next steps will be closely watched by Western nations barred from monitoring the poll themselves.

However, foreign diplomats have privately described the polls as fundamentally flawed and the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network reported up to one million voters were prevented from voting in Tsvangirai’s strongholds.

Ban stressed that “the concerns which have been raised about certain aspects of the electoral process should be pursued through established channels”.

“The most important thing is that the will of the people of Zimbabwe is respected.”

Even before the election was officially called for Zanu PF, Mugabe’s followers were already planning how to use what could be a crushing parliamentary majority.

“The new Constitution will need cleaning up,” said Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, referring to a text overwhelmingly approved by Zimbabweans in March that introduced term limits and curbed presidential powers.

Chinamasa said Mugabe’s government would also press on with controversial efforts to bring firms under black ownership.

Investors have expressed fears that may mean rolling back the power-sharing government’s efforts to stabilise the economy after crippling hyperinflation and joblessness.

“It’s back to extreme volatility,” Iraj Abedian, the Pan African Investments chief executive, told AFP from Johannesburg.

“We can expect fairly radical positions that will have populist support, but which will have huge implications.”

Mugabe — Africa’s oldest ruler — is a former guerrilla leader who guided Zimbabwe to independence in 1980 from Britain and white minority rule.

Former union boss Tsvangirai won the first round of voting in 2008, but was forced out of the race after 200 of his supporters were killed and thousands more injured in suspected State-backed intimidation and attacks.

Comments (1)

i like it when you paper says Mugabe-Africa,s oldest ruler, but i hate it when it does't mention Tsvangirai- Africa's young idiotic western sponsored puppet.

reason - 5 August 2013

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