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.
Zimbabwe’s electoral commission declared Mugabe the winner with 61 percent of the vote in last week’s election, against Tsvangirai with 34 percent. But local observers have called the polls flawed and Western powers have raised serious doubts over the vote.
Both the United States and former colonial power Britain have questioned the credibility of the vote, while Australia has urged a re-run of the polls.
However, regional powers were less critical, with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) calling it “free and peaceful” while stopping short of describing it as fair. The African Union declared it fair, while at the same time raising concerns about voters being turned away and about the electoral roll.