Zimbabwe Opposition Asks Court to Nullify Election

By LYDIA POLGREEN - NYTimes.com  Published: August 9, 2013

The challengers, the Movement for Democratic Change, claim that the party of President Robert G. Mugabe, the 89-year-old former liberation hero who has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980, rigged the vote in order to claim a landslide victory, winning more than two-thirds of parliamentary seats and a 61 percent majority in the presidential race that kept him in office.

“This election was stolen,” said Douglas Mwonzora, a spokesman for the M.D.C. “We are seeking that the election be nullified and that a new election be held within 60 days.”

Zimbabwe’s long-awaited presidential contest was held on July 31 amid fears that the violence that plagued the 2008 election season would erupt again. The voting was peaceful this time, but marred by a number of problems. The parties were not given a copy of the final voter rolls until the day before the election, and when it did arrive it was on paper, not in a digital format that could easily be analyzed to look for fraud.

Many voters, particularly in urban areas where the challengers draw support, were not represented on the voter lists and were turned away from the polls, observers said. Beyond that, observers said, an unusually high number of voters were assisted in casting their ballots, another sign that voters might have been pressured by the governing party to vote in Mr. Mugabe’s favor. Far more ballots were printed than were actually needed, and many of those extra ballots have not been accounted for, observers added.

The size of Mr. Mugabe’s victory raised eyebrows in Zimbabwe. In the first round of voting in 2008, he won fewer votes than Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the M.D.C., but Mr. Tsvangirai refused to participate in a runoff because of violent state-sponsored attacks on his supporters.

More than 200 people died in the crisis, with thousands of others beaten and intimidated. Regional powers worked out an uneasy power-sharing agreement that put both parties in power, albeit with the M.D.C. as the junior partner.

The elections were meant to be held in 18 months, but it took more than five years. Few expected that Mr. Mugabe’s popularity would rebound so robustly. Mr. Tsvangirai won roughly the same number of votes as he did in 2008, but Mr. Mugabe doubled his tally, raising questions for some about whether the result was legitimate.

Mr. Mugabe’s party, ZANU-PF, did not allow monitors from Western countries to observe the election, but large delegations from the African Union and the regional trade bloc, S.A.D.C., observed the voting. Both organizations released reports sharply critical of the vote, but ultimately urged the challengers to accept the outcome.

The United States and other Western nations said that the vote did not truly reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people and urged the regional observers to investigate serious allegations of fraud before accepting the result.

But Mr. Mugabe has brushed aside all criticism of the election, especially from Western nations.

“But now they, even as the whole of Africa is sending us messages of congratulations to say ‘well done,’ they say the elections were not free,” Mr. Mugabe said in a news conference in Harare. “And where are they talking? London and Washington and Ottawa.”

Botswana urged a serious investigation of the results, breaking ranks with other African nations in the region. In a statement, Botswana’s observer delegation said that the election fell short of acceptable standards and that the regional trade group “should not create the undesirable precedent of permitting exceptions to its own rules.”

Mr. Mwonzora, the M.D.C. spokesman, said that African countries were satisfied that the lack of violence made the election fair, but, he added, that was far too low a standard.

“For other countries, elections need to be peaceful, free and fair,” Mr. Mwonzora said. “But for Zimbabwe, they need only be peaceful to be acceptable. We are refusing to accept that.”

The challengers face an uphill battle in the courts. Zimbabwe’s higher judiciary was largely appointed by Mr. Mugabe and has been loyal to his party.

“We are not deterred by the injustice that we may face,” Mr. Mwonzora said. “We are going to court to create a public record. The same dossier we are presenting to the court we will present to the Zimbabwean public and await their judgement.”

via Zimbabwe Opposition Asks Court to Nullify Election – NYTimes.com.

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11 comments on “Zimbabwe Opposition Asks Court to Nullify Election
  1. chimsoro says:

    where is the creditable evidence?

  2. bvuma says:

    the mdc t must concede defeat and plan for future

  3. JJ says:

    We shall over come ,because truth shall always prevail

  4. dofo says:

    there is no movement no wayforward not even an inch because its not only morgen who was robbed but everyone of us I mean majority of people including diasporas the relatives and all the young generation so never dream of wayfoward for where as long as this mess is not addressed you go and get married wayford never ever.Those mdc winners who think they will join the gvt must totaly foget they have to get that mandate from all zimbabwean.you allow mugabe to denay despora vote where on eath this has happened.you let mugabe rush election,ini ndakaona mapolling station airara akachengetwa nevanhu vezanu pf pasina munhu vemdc in town in harare not kumusha hamuna even kuziwa mapolling station ose kwanzi pane vari kuunza maCV for mayorship .election are null and void apinda next time hatimuvhotere. vavhoti takatsamwa we need evething to be stated again no matter the outcome of your patsan concourt. but next time involve everyone in your systems tokupaimazano even for free not all this mess

  5. danatureboy says:

    According the figures i saw, even if the so called persons who did not vote in the 31st July poll in Zimbabwe did in fact voted i believe Mugabe may have still won that election.

  6. chipinge says:

    Tsvangirai should accept defeat,why he participated in a race when he was not satisified with the election condition???I remembered when he was preaching in a rally saying that he was going to announce the election himself. we are still waiting for the results from him.

  7. John says:

    Save keep on keeping on. Victory is certain. Tyranny and stupid politics of Zanu and its limping donkey will soon be a thing of the past. Mugabe is a plain idiot we should get rid of.

  8. Collin Mackenzie says:

    Let’s stop putting our hopes in the hands of whites and the west yet the world is so, so huge
    And we have the right to chose our friends, do we not have
    MDC school boys are just puppets an I would never ever allow myself to be lead by those school boys all do is talk Mugabe an talk way forward
    Where do those young MDC boys get the guys from , or of course there colonial master the British daam liers and racist people which Zimbabwe did the live in.

    MDC who these people chance takers, I believe that the elections of the 31 of July were the do or die for the west and the MDC
    Why has Morgan not stepped down since own constitution says two terms how many terms has run for president, his is just a power hungry disrespectful man with no sense of dress code and the man looks bad for 61 he looks 91 and his spoken English is so bad its, not Zimbabwean and lastly the man needs a facial
    His so so so bad looking ugly is an understatement which real woman looks at worker shame never ever in my life time will he lead my beloved country Zimbabwe instead I will and I will continue with the legacy of president Mugabe Zanu PF is the real deal
    There has been not party in the world that been tried and tested like Zanu PF, I’m a leader in waiting and spiritual to the values of our mother land and Gweru is my first stop
    Clean out all that rubbish an the City of progress the true City of progress and not the City of disgrace due to MDC School boys the Midlands hotel is run by an MDC man just look how dirty and bad looking the once icon building that stood tall in the city centre
    That dude make clean or risk losing it due to the place being a health risk

  9. makoya ndlovu says:

    poor zimbabweans. always complaining. evrything that happens is permitted by the Creator and He is flawless. all is well

    • Collin Mackenzie says:

      True to that, and the creator did not give the MDC and Morgan the give to lead Zimbabwe.
      Hence being a leader is a spiritual gift from the creator and no court will over turn the will of the Zimbabwe people to be lead by president Robert Mugabe

      Its time the MDC regroup and kick that womaniser Morgan out.
      There are elections happen in Africa as we speak coups happening Egypt is in in a mess, what has the west shut their pink mouths and cry foul in a small Zimbabwe, because there is more in Zimbabwe than we see.

      Zimbabwe is key to the west taking over Africa, if Zimbabwe falls to the hands of the west then South Africa is next.

      To he’ll with Obama go back to Kenya his such a disgrace him and his partners the British lads….

      Look at all the African countries they put their pink noises in they are all messes up the kill So may leaders and even our own brother lead
      MDC are there to create instability in Zimbabwe

      Morgan must learn to bath first his a rubbish dirty stupid fool, shame he lost fair and Square coz Zimbabweans had good years to see what junk he is.
      MDC have no direction and political knowledge, that man is she ugly seeing on my tv screens makes me sick.

      Zimbabweans is for Zimbabweans and those who live in it with a Zimbabwean intrest why is Morgan buying property is South Africa and not invest in our Zimbabwe

      Obama leave our Zimbabwe and go Kenya the airport there is on fire and they need your help and shut you big mouth on Zimbabwe.

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