Mugabe's free but unfair win

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe looked yesterday to a seventh-term as Zimbabwe’s president after winning elections denounced by the opposition as “stolen” and criticised by Western powers.

Mugabe, 89, who has run the country since he helped end white rule in 1980, trounced his long-standing political rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, in Wednesday’s election, Zimbabwean election officials said.

By the time he completes his new tenure, he will have ruled the former British colony in southern Africa for 38 years.

Official results showed Mugabe won 61 percent of the presidential vote and his party got a super majority in parliament that will allow it to change the constitution.

He routed Tsvangirai who trailed heavily with 34 percent.

But 61-year-old Tsvangirai, who has unsuccessfully tried to unseat Mugabe three times, condemned the vote as “fraudulent and stolen”.

The reaction in the Sunday press was divisive with state-controlled newspaper The Sunday Mail proclaiming “President Mugabe romps to victory”, while the independent Daily News said “It’s a crisis”.

US Secretary of State John Kerry meanwhile described the election as “deeply flawed” and said the US “does not believe that the results represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague added his own “grave concerns” over the conduct of the vote in the former colony.

On Sunday, Australia called for Zimbabwe to go to the polls again.

“Given our doubts about the results, Australia calls for a re-run of the elections based on a verified and agreed voters’ roll,” Foreign minister Bob Carr said in a statement.

Tsvangirai vowed to challenge the result in court and said his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would boycott government institutions.

“We will not join government,” he said. “We will go to court.”

“The fraudulent and stolen election has plunged Zimbabwe into a constitutional, political and economic crisis.”

Tsvangirai has been in a coalition with Mugabe since 2009. He defended the decision then to enter into an uneasy power-sharing government with Mugabe, who has had him arrested, beaten and charged with treason.

“Our participation rescued this country. Schools had closed, hospitals had closed. We were using the Zimbabwe dollar which was worthless, there were no goods in the shops, everyone was desperate,” he said.

But Mugabe’s Zanu PF party says there is no more need for the MDC in the new government.

“We have received over 60 percent of the vote, we have two thirds majority, why would we want to bring someone else on board,” State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi said to AFP.

The MDC now has until Wednesday to present evidence of fraud to the high court, but finding a smoking gun may prove difficult. Inauguration is expected within 48 hours of the court’s decision.

Tsvangirai said he would submit a dossier of “all irregularities and all the illegalities” to the influential 15-member Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and called for an urgent summit.

The European Union, which had been moving toward easing long-standing sanctions, expressed concern about “incomplete participation, as well as the identified weaknesses in the electoral process and a lack of transparency”.

But Emmerson Mnangagwa, defence minister and a key Mugabe lieutenant, hit back at these accusations and argued the result was a game-changer.

“The West will now have to climb down, they must find a ladder and climb down... A democratic election has taken place in Zimbabwe,” he told AFP.

The Sadc, which engineered the power-sharing government, said it was “free and peaceful”.

“We did not say it was fair ... we didn’t want to jump to a conclusion,” said top Sadc election observer Bernard Membe.

However, the poll’s credibility was further called into question by the resignation of one of the nine official electoral commissioners.

In a letter seen by AFP, Mkhululi Nyathi quit over “the manner” in which the polls “were proclaimed and conducted”.

Tsvangirai stopped short of calling his supporters onto the streets, fearing a repeat of the bloody crackdown that followed his win in the first round of 2008 polls.

There was calm in the capital late Saturday, with little sign of protests or pro-Mugabe victory rallies. Streets remained quiet on Sunday.

Even before the official election results, Mugabe followers were planning how to use a parliamentary majority.

“The new constitution will need cleaning up,” said Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, referring to a text approved 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.

Comments (7)

We are tired very tired of you britain and amaerica. Cant you leave us alone? Remember we are nolonger a british colony. Why having sleepless nights about our affairs? We know you are the founders of this mdct project thats why you are so pained to the bone, but you have to respect us as a people and not as your subjects. Our President was never near any place where we casted our votes. So please leave our President we love him and shall ever even after his death we will thrive to do exactly as he is doing. Take your tsvangirayi to your countries we dont want him here. Rubbish.

Takeiteasy Marcaves - 5 August 2013

Shame on you Takeiteasy Marcaves. Ndimika mbavha munodya nato ZANU yacho at the suffering and expense of the majority of our nation. Chisingaperi chinoshura

hardnut - 5 August 2013

Takesure you are an Imbecile a very bad parasite, a tick, or maybe let me call you with the laguage you clearly understand, Ungumgodoyi, your comments make me sick and it clearly shows that you are definelty a Pirasite for your own survival you suck out from Zanu, but well akuqili lazikhotha emhlane things will be bad when the power hungry rushes to the finish line there by looting what ever is on the way and the are all old, there will nothing left for you Idiot...

Mfana Ka Sobhuku... - 5 August 2013

You are a typical mthwakazi (mfana ka Sobhuku) We like our president RGM, so leave Takesure alone. We know you tribal hatred of Mugabe

Kelvin Moses - 5 August 2013

Takeiteasy this is not an easy issue it seems you are gobbling our resources like person who is spending his wealthy before hanged days. By now they is no one who will say no guys to unreasonable ideas suggested by old people in the counrty. The problem with you is age, when people grow they think like a three year old child. Thus what is happening with Zanu pf. Let the young blood rule. Kana uri youth uchasvika pakunzi kule madhara aya achitonga. they can even reach up to 110 years like a chief. They will say you are the future president and you as a full you will say yes Boss. GoD HELP US.

Mutape - 5 August 2013

WHAT TYPE OF LEADER IS ROBERT MUGABE? Mugabe and his associates know fully well they rigged the so called election left, right and centre. Surprisingly, when it comes to the hollow 'swearing-in ceremony', he will paint a picture that all was done freely and fairly. We should not forget this is the same man who who falsely pretended to be a 'Madzibaba' by putting on a 'vapositori gemenzi' and temporarily ditched the fact he claims he is a devout catholic. The cheating is so porous but does he care? No but SHAME. I can guarantee you that when he called the impromtu press conference on Tuesday 30/07/13, after earlier meeting the Israeli agents, he already knew the results of the elections before the elections. As a cover up, however, and being an expert at cheating, he pretended he was going to accept the results and was prepared to concede if he lost. Again this foxy cheat was painting the picture he is fair. But the question is, is he?

Thomson Tawonei - 5 August 2013

TAKESURE you are a disgrace you are still living in the past but to tell you the truth the country is going to come to a halt within four months that one l guarantee you,(1)Today the stock exchange made losses you know why ? Investors are pulling out but l know you might not understand the logic becoz you are a CHIMPANZEE you only understand the jungle.(2)In ZANU PF all of you are brain dead you have failed to put a successor for MUGABE in the past 33years (3)What the international community can do now is to stop any trade with us and how are are you going to service your international debts ,(4)As for the people of Zim l am not seeing them taking their hard earned cash to banks ,(5)NZARA tichamama nayo gore rino .

CASHTALK - 5 August 2013

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