Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party will not take part in elections until reforms are made, media reports said on Saturday. “Unless there are reforms, participation in those by-elections would be futile,” said Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist who beat long-time leader Robert Mugabe in the first round of presidential elections in 2008 and later served as prime minister in a coalition government. His comments were carried by the official Herald daily.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party has rejected the final report of Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s Election Observer Mission (SEOM) validating Zimbabwe’s July 31 polls as free, fair and credible. SEOM leader Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard Membe on Monday delivered the final report which stated the Zimbabwean election had been held in a credible manner, Zimnbabwean news agency New Ziana reported. But former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party said the mission had failed to take note of various irregularities which it deemed were too many for the election to be given credence.
Southern African countries said Monday they found it “very difficult” to declare Zimbabwe’s elections fair, thanks to Robert Mugabe’s monopoly on state media and problems with the electoral roll. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission which observed the July 31 election declared the poll “credible” but stopped short of calling it fair. “On the question of fairness, it’s very difficult to say everything was fair,” SADC election observer Bernard Membe said in the capital Harare as he summarised his report. The 15-member regional body reiterated its call for sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States against Zimbabwe to be lifted, saying they actually helped Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party. “Sanctions cannot be used as a tool for winning elections. As long as sanctions are there, this ZANU-PF will prevail for another 100 years,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s highest court has dismissed a case challenging President Robert Mugabe’s re-election last month and upheld the re-election of longtime leader. Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku told a packed courtroom Tuesday that Mugabe had been elected in accordance with Zimbabwe’s laws. He made the ruling while dismissing an application that had been filed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who lost the July 31 election. Terrence Hussein, the lawyer for Mugabe, said, “We are quite happy because it has brought stability and certainty. We can now all move on. I think we all now know who our president is for the next five years.” Mugabe will be sworn in no later than Thursday, thus extending his 33-year rule over Zimbabwe by another five years.
Zimbabwe’s highest court said it will rule Tuesday on a legal battle over disputed elections that gave President Robert Mugabe a landslide victory, even though the opposition dropped its challenge in protest to the state’s refusal to hand over polling data. Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court on Monday heard demands by Mugabe’s attorneys for a hearing to go ahead despite the opposition’s withdrawal, apparently reflecting the president’s confidence that the court will throw out the case and strengthen his assertions that the vote was legitimate. Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, appoints the nation’s judges and they have frequently ruled in his favor in the past decade of political and economic turmoil. Terrence Hussein, an attorney for Mugabe, said a challenge to the presidential vote cannot be withdrawn under the constitution. The party of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai fears participation in the legal process would now give a stamp of credibility to the election.
Zimbabwe: Court to rule on election challenge even after opposition drops its case | Associated Press
Zimbabwe’s highest court said it will rule Tuesday on a legal battle over disputed elections that gave President Robert Mugabe a landslide victory, even though the opposition dropped its challenge in protest to the state’s refusal to hand over polling data. Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court on Monday heard demands by Mugabe’s attorneys for a hearing to go ahead despite the opposition’s withdrawal, apparently reflecting the president’s confidence that the court will throw out the case and strengthen his assertions that the vote was legitimate. Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, appoints the nation’s judges and they have frequently ruled in his favor in the past decade of political and economic turmoil. Terrence Hussein, an attorney for Mugabe, said a challenge to the presidential vote cannot be withdrawn under the constitution.
Zimbabwe’s Electoral Court has begun hearing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s challenge of the re-election of President Robert Mugabe in the July 31 polls. Mugabe’s swearing in has been put on hold and investors have been cautious since the re-election of the 89-year-old leader because of his policy of seizing foreign owned firms. Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change accuse the Zimbabwe Election Commission of rigging the election for Mugabe’s Zanu PF party. On Wednesday, they were at the Electoral Court to force the commission to produce all election materials. Lewis Uriri, the lawyer for Tsvangirai, told reporters that the court reserved judgment. “Clearly time is of essence here,” he said. “We need access to those materials to demonstrate beyond doubt that the election was not properly conducted, to demonstrate the will of the people was not reflected in that election. There must be a reason why they do not want to produce those materials. That reason is that there are definitely, definitely, definitely, ghosts in those sealed materials that they do not want us access.”
Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC withdrew a court challenge against President Robert Mugabe’s re-election through a vote the party had denounced as fraudulent, saying on Friday it would not get a fair hearing. Mugabe, 89, and his ZANU-PF party were declared winners of the July 31 election but the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had filed a motion for the constitutional court to overturn the result. A hearing on the MDC challenge, which had alleged widespread vote-rigging and intimidation by ZANU-PF, had been planned for Saturday. “I can confirm that we have withdrawn the presidential election petition. There are a number of reasons, including the failure by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release critical evidence in this matter,” MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said. The decision appeared to end any hope of further action by the MDC through the courts, which Tsangirai’s party have said are dominated by ZANU-PF along with other state institutions in the southern African nation, formerly known as Rhodesia.
Zimbabwe: Mugabe tells opponents who dispute Zimbabwe election results to 'go hang… commit suicide' | The Independent
Hitting back at the furore over his disputed victory in last month’s elections, Robert Mugabe launched a new tirade against his opponents, telling them to “go hang”. In his first public speech since the 31 July elections, the 89-year-old Mr Mugabe taunted his defeated rival Morgan Tsvangirai, who is currently launching a court challenge to what he describes as a “fraudulent and stolen” vote. Mr Mugabe dismissed Mr Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as “pathetic puppets” and “Western stooges”. Mr Mugabe was speaking at a national shrine outside Harare at the annual Heroes’ Day rally to honour heroes of the country’s liberation wars. The MDC boycotted the event in protest at the contested vote. The President did not name Mr Tsvangirai directly during his hour-long speech, but his opponent was clearly the target of some choice invective. “Those who lost elections may commit suicide if they so wish. Even if they die, dogs will not eat their flesh,” Mr Mugabe said.
Lawyers for Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s party filed a legal challenge Friday against the outcome of a crunch election which gave veteran President Robert Mugabe another five-year term. Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) charge in a court appeal that the July 31 vote was a “farce” that was riddled with fraud and should be declared invalid. “The prayer that we seek is that this election be declared null and void and also that a fresh election be held within 60 days,” MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told journalists outside the constitutional court where the party’s petition was lodged. The election ended a shaky power-sharing government formed four years ago by Mugabe and Tsvangirai following a bloody election in 2008.
Some 300,000 voters were turned away and 206,000 received assistance from election officials during last week’s disputed vote, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said Thursday. The commission said nearly 3.5 million people cast their ballots in last weeks elections which extended President Robert Mugabe’s 33-year rule after he won 61% of the presidential vote against rival Morgan Tsvangia’s 34% . ZEC’s statistics show that nearly 305,000 people were turned away from voting with the largest number – about 64,000 – turned away in the Harare alone. The voters were reportedly turned away because their names were missing from the voters’ roll, they were registered in another ward or they did not have adequate identification.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has for the first time admitted that elections held last week were tainted with massive irregularities which saw 511 791 voters disenfranchised either through assisted voting or being turned away. The MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai issued a statement saying the admission by the nine-member electoral commission vindicated their position that the elections were a monumental farce as “Zanu PF assisted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the State machinery stole the people’s victory. In the figures released by ZEC today at the request of the MDC-T, a total of 206 901 voters were assisted to vote while 304 890 people were turned away with Harare province recording the highest number of 64 483 such people,” the MDC-T said. A total of 3.4 million people voted in the disputed election.
A senior Zimbabwean election official said Tuesday he has resigned, just days after a colleague quit over the conduct of the vote that extended President Robert Mugabe’s 33-year rule. “Yes, I have resigned (from the Zimbabwe Election Commission),” law professor Geoff Feltoe told AFP. “I am going back to the university. I have always intended to do so and I am going there,” he said, referring to the University of Zimbabwe. Feltoe refused to say if his decision was related to the conduct of the hotly disputed presidential and parliamentary elections last Wednesday that gave Mugabe another five-year term.
Zimbabwe: Prime Minister says election was manipulated and is not credible, poses new political crisis | Washington Post
Allegations of vote-rigging flowed in Zimbabwe on Thursday, with reports of fake registration cards, voters turned away from the polls and people appearing on voters’ lists four times with different IDs. Even before results were announced, the main opposition camp said longtime President Robert Mugabe stole the election, which his supporters denied. Either way, the country faces fresh political uncertainty. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the main challenger to Mugabe, said the elections on Wednesday were “null and void” due to violations in the voting process, and a poll monitoring group that is not affiliated with the state said the poll was compromised by a campaign to stop voters from casting ballots. In the first official results announced by the state election commission late Thursday, Mugabe’s party captured 28 of the 210 parliamentary seats, compared to three won by Tsvangirai’s party. Most of those results came from Mugabe’s rural strongholds. The elections had posed one of the biggest challenges to Mugabe’s 33-year grip on power on this former British colony, but claims by his opponents that the election was tainted and declarations of victory by the president’s supporters suggested his political career was far from over.
A Zimbabwean election commissioner has resigned, citing doubts about the integrity of results showing a big win for President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party but dismissed as a fraud-riddled farce by his main challenger. Mkhululi Nyathi said he quit the nine-member Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) over the way it managed the presidential and parliamentary vote held on Wednesday. His resignation is likely to add to the dispute over the election both inside and outside Zimbabwe. The vote, which looks certain to extend 89-year-old Mugabe’s 33-year rule in the southern African nation, passed off peacefully and received broad approval from African observers. Africa’s oldest leader, Mugabe has governed the former British colony, then known as Rhodesia, since independence in 1980. Mugabe’s main rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has denounced the July 31 election as a “huge farce”, alleging massive rigging by ZANU-PF. Zimbabwe’s largest domestic observer group has also called the elections “seriously compromised”
As Zimbabweans awaited presidential election results, the ruling party declared victory Thursday as the opposition dismissed the vote as a “huge farce.” Vote counting was under way in the election that pitted incumbent President Robert Mugabe against Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for the third time. Mugabe, 89, has been at the helm since 1980, the only president the nation has known since it gained independence from Britain. A win would extend his time in office to 38 years. Even though the nation’s electoral commission has not released any numbers, a ruling party official claimed victory.
The first official results from Zimbabwe’s election and unofficial tallies indicated Thursday that President Robert Mugabe’s party was headed for a landslide win. But Mugabe’s main rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, rejected Wednesday’s poll as a sham and warned that the country was headed for a crisis. A number of observers and civil society groups said Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party made huge gains in areas that were strongholds for Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, including Matebeleland South, Manicaland and Masvingo. The party had an overwhelming lead in early parliamentary results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. ZANU-PF made no official victory claim over Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change, withdrawing what it described as an unauthorized tweet from the party account that had claimed a resounding win. But a senior ZANU-PF figure told Reuters news agency that his party had crushed the opposition.
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe says he will quit after 33 years in power if he loses the country’s election, as rivals claimed they had evidence of vote-rigging. Voters go to the polls today with heavily armed riot police deployed in potential flashpoints across the capital Harare. After a violent run-up to the last election five years ago saw then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdraw, this poll has mostly been free of bloodshed. A power-sharing agreement was established after that last failed election, an acrimonious arrangement with Mr Mugabe remaining as president and Mr Tsvangirai as prime minister. Mr Mugabe’s party is accused of doctoring the roll for this election, while prime minister Mr Tsvangirai’s finance minister is in turn being blamed for failing to release funds to allow it to be revised.
There is, perhaps, only one question that really matters in Zimbabwe this week, as the country finally tries to move beyond the violent, disrupted elections of 2008, and the five years’ worth of tortuous negotiations and snarling political stalemate that followed. Will the loser accept the result? The answer – despite years of international mediation, an economy no longer in free-fall, a new constitution and an overwhelming public appetite for political change – appears to be veering dangerously towards a resounding “no”. In one corner, the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has already publically condemned this Wednesday’s vote as “a sham”, citing numerous irregularities, from an alarmingly flawed electoral roll to the enduring political bias in the security services and state media. In the other corner, President Robert Mugabe, who calls this a “do-or-die” election and has recently threatened to have his main challenger arrested, is surrounded by hardliners who have publically stated that they would “not accept” a victory by the “Western puppet” Mr Tsvangirai under any circumstances.
Despite chaotic early voting last week, Zimbabwe’s Election Commission is reassuring the public that next week’s general election will run smoothly. Voting material and staff for the July 31 voting are already being moved into place, according to Joyce Kazembe, deputy chairwoman of the Zimbabwe Election Commission. “We are raring to go,” she said. “We have been on this for a number of months now. The ballot paper, which was one of our challenges during the special vote, was provided, the commission has procured the inedible ink, which is sufficient for the conduct of the harmonized election.” Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party will lock horns in a contest to end the country’s power-sharing government, which was formed following a disputed election in 2009.
A political deal brought Mr Tsvangirai into government in 2009 after Mr Mugabe claimed victory in a bitterly disputed presidential contest that cost hundreds of lives. But in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Tsvangirai said he was not willing to repeat the experience. As he prepares to run for the presidency against Mr Mugabe for a third time, he made clear that if he lost on July 31, he would refuse any invitation to stay on as prime minister. Calling the survival of the coalition a “regressive step”, Mr Tsvangirai insisted: “The people of Zimbabwe are desperate to start on a new plate and actually give proper direction and proper policy direction to revive this economy, give people hope and actually start all over again.”
Elections to choose a new government in Zimbabwe will go ahead on July 31, the disputed date that President Robert Mugabe, had unilaterally set, the country’s top court ruled on Thursday. The court dismissed appeals by both Mugabe and his nemesis Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, to have the date postponed following pressure from regional leaders. “Elections should proceed on the 31st of July 2013 in terms of the proclamation by the president in compliance with the order of this court,” chief justice Godfrey Chidyausiku ruled. The presidential vote will be held on the same day as parliamentary elections to replace an uneasy power-sharing deal between Mugabe and Tsvangirai in place since 2009. Mugabe had lodged an appeal to shift by two weeks the date that he had himself set, after regional bloc the Southern African Development Community (SADC) asked him to allow more time for preparations.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday filed an application at the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe seeking to nullify the proclamation by President Mugabe setting July 31 as the date for the harmonised elections. The application came as MDC-T delegates from the country’s 10 provinces gathered in Harare to sign Mr Tsvangirai’s nomination papers ahead of the sitting of the Nomination Court at Mapondera Building on Thursday. It also followed a recent meeting the MDC-T convened in the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights boardroom earlier this month to brainstorm on what it called “Strategic Election Litigation” designed to increase the workload of the Constitutional Court to prevent it from dealing with cases on time.
Zimbabwe’s highest court has received an application from Robert Mugabe’s party to delay crucial elections by at least two weeks following pressure from regional leaders. The president has insisted he is merely abiding by a previous court order in holding general elections on 31 July. The prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, a longtime opponent of Mugabe and opposition leader, wants the vote to be held in September. Zimbabwe’s last elections in 2008 were plagued by violence and ultimately forced Mugabe to join a power-sharing government with the opposition. Officials at the constitutional court said the papers submitted by Mugabe’s party asked the court to review the earlier ruling that called for a vote before the end of July.
The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) special summit on the Zimbabwe elections went ahead on June 15 in Maputo, Mozambique, despite press reports that Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe had sought its postponement. Mugabe had unilaterally proclaimed that elections would go ahead on July 31, as mandated by the Zimbabwean constitutional court. The opposition parties, led by Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T, strongly objected to elections that soon because a package of reforms designed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 electoral violence has not been legislated or implemented. SADC, led by South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma, has called for such a Zimbabwe “road map” that would promote free and fair elections. The upshot of the Maputo summit is that Mugabe agreed to ask the constitutional court to allow a delay in the elections for about two weeks. Mugabe also apparently agreed to regularize through parliament some amendments to the electoral act that he had already implemented using presidential powers. In addition, the Zimbabwean security forces are to restate their commitment to the rule of law. SADC further urged the Zimbabwean parties in parliament to agree on legislation concerning a number of proposed reforms that remain outstanding.
Zimbabwe began registering new voters on Monday in a push to meet a Constitutional Court order to hold elections by July 31, even though one of the two main parties wants a delay to allow for reform of the media and security forces. President Robert Mugabe has said he will comply with the court order to hold the presidential and parliamentary elections, angering the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of his chief rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. To help ensure a fair vote, the MDC wants first to open up broadcast media to all parties and to agree a code to stop army and police meddling in politics. But the court ruling leaves little time for such reforms and the state media, still firmly in the camp of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, have stepped up attacks on Tsvangirai and the MDC in the last month. Senior police and army officers have openly campaigned for Mugabe, labelling Tsvangirai a Western puppet.
For the last month Gibson Severe and his wife, Merjury Severe, known opposition supporters from Hurungwe district in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland West Province, have been hiding out in the country’s capital Harare. The Movement for Democratic Change – Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) supporters were forced to flee their rural home in Hurungwe district after Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) militias threatened them for encouraging people to participate in the recently-ended mobile voter registration. “It’s been a month since we left Hurungwe district after the Jochomondo militia, which has known links to Zanu-PF, besieged our rural home accusing us of encouraging people to register to vote for the MDC-T,” Gibson Severe told IPS. Since last year, the Jochomondo militia has allegedly terrorised residents in Zimbabwe’s northern Hurungwe district, a Zanu-PF-stronghold, making it almost impossible for opposition parties to campaign in the region.
Zimbabwe is on track for another flawed election this year unless it can refresh outdated voter lists, approve “an army” of outsider observers and find foreign donors willing to pay for the vote, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Monday. However, postponing the poll to maintain a stop-gap unity government between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is not an option, with the fractious coalition well past its sell-by date, Biti told a Reuters Africa Summit. “I don’t think we are in a position today, right now, of having legitimate, credible, sustainable elections,” Biti, a leading member of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, said. “At the rate we are going, it is obvious that we are going to have another flawed election … Zimbabweans cannot afford another flawed election.”
President Robert Mugabe’s lawyers dropped the June 29th election date before High Court Judge President George Chiweshe on Wednesday, but will continue challenging the court case on by-elections. This appears to be a development in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s favour, as he was rejecting attempts by Mugabe to call elections by the end of June. The President had gone to the High Court requesting to be excused from a court order to proclaim by-elections by 31st March 2013. That request is being opposed by three former legislators, Abednico Bhebhe, Norman Mpofu and Njabuliso Mguni, who want their vacant constituencies filled through by-elections in their constituencies. The 89 year old leader said it would be expensive to hold by-elections and then harmonized elections a few months later and wanted to proclaim the dates for harmonized elections on or before 29th June. Tsvangirai rejected this and last week filed an application in the High Court as the Fourth Respondent, objecting to the President’s proposed timeline.
In an opportunistic move set to trigger a political storm ahead of crucial general elections, President Robert Mugabe is making back-door manoeuvres through the High Court to secure an order declaring polls be held by or on June 29, as Zanu PF increasingly sweats over its uncertain political fate. During this past week Mugabe and his Zanu PF officials have been strenuously lobbying for elections to be held by June 29, citing constitutional and legal grounds — dismissed by their political rivals and lawyers as expedient intrigues. Zanu PF insiders say Mugabe and his loyalists now desperately want polls by June as fears mount the 89-year old leader, who recently made a veiled admission to growing senility and frailty, might struggle to sustain rigorous election campaigns. In terms of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and elections roadmap, Mugabe is required to proclaim election dates in consultation with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.