ConCourt rules Zimbabwe elections were ‘free and fair’

2013-08-20 16:34

Harare – Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the elections that handed Robert Mugabe five more years of power were free and fair, dismissing allegations of vote-rigging.

“The Zimbabwe presidential election held on July 31 2013 was in accordance with the laws of Zimbabwe,” Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said today. “The said election was free, fair and credible.”

Mugabe was declared the winner in general elections on July 31, with 61% of the ballot, against his main rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, with 34% of the ballot.

Local observers have called the polls flawed and Western powers have raised serious doubts over the vote, but regional organisations the African Union and Southern African Development Community were less critical.

Tsvangirai condemned the election as “a farce” and “a massive fraud”, and demanded a forensic audit of the election results, voters’ registers and numbers of voters who were turned away, and those who were issued with certificates to vote.

He filed a petition two weeks ago challenging Mugabe’s re-election, vowing to expose how the vote was rigged to hand Mugabe victory.

In a surprise U-turn on Friday, Tsvangirai withdrew his petition, saying he would not get a fair hearing.

He said the courts had frustrated his efforts for the release of election materials to use as evidence.

But the Constitutional Court went ahead and made a ruling on the case, clearing the way for Mugabe’s inauguration on Thursday.

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