THE United States and Britain, which imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe over claims of election fraud, expressed concern after President Robert Mugabe was declared the winner of the presidential election on Saturday, extending his 33-year rule by another five years.
Mugabe won with 2,110,434 votes, giving him 61% of the total and MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai 34%. Tsvangirai has rejected the election result as fraudulent and said he would exhaust all legal remedies to challenge it.
According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Zanu PF won 158 of the 210 parliament seats, giving it a two-thirds majority in the legislature that enables it to make amendments to the new constitution and existing laws.
Tsvangirai’s party captured 50 seats and two went to independent candidates.
But US Secretary of State John Kerry says Zimbabwe’s elections were ‘deeply flawed’ and results showing Robert Mugabe winning a seventh term are not credible.
“In light of substantial electoral irregularities reported by domestic and regional observers, the United States does not believe that the results announced today represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people,” Kerry said on Saturday.
“Though the United States was restricted from monitoring these elections, the balance of evidence indicates that today’s announcement was the culmination of a deeply flawed process,” he said.
Kerry pointed to irregularities in voter rolls, unequal access to state media by the candidates, uneven security protection of the election and a failure by the government to implement political reforms.
He called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union to address their concerns with the election.
In the UK, Foreign Secretary William Hague told of his ‘grave concerns’ over how the Zimbabwean election was conducted after it was confirmed Robert Mugabe has won another five-year presidential term.
In a statement released by the Foreign Office, Hague said: “People around the world are watching events in Zimbabwe, following the announcement by the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission that President Mugabe has won the presidential elections, as well as the indications of possible legal challenges.
“I commend the people of Zimbabwe on holding peaceful elections. However we have grave concerns over the conduct of the election.
“The preliminary statements of the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) observation missions, and those of the domestic observer groups, have outlined many of these significant concerns, and I hope that their final assessments of the elections will take into account the full impact of these irregularities on the outcome.”
Meanwhile, as Zanu PF supporters celebrated ZEC’s, Tsvangirai and other MDC leaders held a press conference that was attended by the British and other western ambassadors.
“The fraudulent and stolen election has plunged Zimbabwe into a constitutional, political and economic crisis,” said the MDC-T leader. “Instead of celebration, there is national mourning.”
The MDC will boycott government institutions and “pursue peaceful, legal, political, constitutional and diplomatic remedies”, including in court, Tsvangirai said. The MDC called on African and regional bodies to meet urgently to restore legitimacy in Zimbabwe and demanded a fresh election as soon as possible.
Asked about the lack of popular revolt, Tsvangirai replied: “Why should there be? Our people are disciplined. You don’t solve problems by creating violence. In fact, we are at this stage because of the discipline of our people.
“If it was any other country, they would burn down the building. They have not chosen to do that because they know at the end of the day we don’t want any violent resolution of this crisis.”
Zanu PF has dared the MDC to challenge the result in court.
“My plea to him is to have recourse in the courts,” said Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
“He should feel free to employ the best lawyers.”