HARARE – The disputed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe arrived back home from the 33rd ordinary summit of SADC Heads of State and Government in Malawi to a welcome by loyalists at the Harare International Airport.
Addressing loyalists welcomed him, Mugabe said he will take oath on Thursday after which he will set up a new cabinet.
This follows his resounding victory in the harmonised elections held on the 31st of July.
Mugabe also said all countries and organisations from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia, which observed the country’s elections spoke with one voice resulting in SADC leaders congratulating Zanu PF as the winning party.
He said South African President, Jacob Zuma, who was the country’s facilitator since 2009, also reported to the SADC leaders that the elections were peaceful, credible, free and fair.
Mugabe who is struggling for legitimacy said the SADC leaders’ election endorsement and positive reports were witnessed by a number of government officials, officials from his office and officials from the Prime Minister’s office, among other key ministries who accompanied him to the summit.
Turning to the last minute withdrawal of the presidential election petition by MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe said it has become clear that he went to the courts with full knowledge that he had lost the elections.
Tsvangirai has reiterated that his party won the the July 31 with a landslide victory and also hinted that he was staying put.
“There have been many questions on why we withdrew the presidential election court challenge. Our National Executive met on Friday and we were given a report by our lawyers stating that there were two problems confronting the court challenge.”
“One was that our application to get necessary information from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had been deferred without any conclusion so that heavily prejudiced our ability to present our case,” the outgoing Prime Minister said.
“The second was that the Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku had narrowed down the petition to one based on affidavits. We had hoped that it would be an open court with witnesses being called in to testify.”
“Because of those two roadblocks placed our way it was futile to proceed with the case. It became very clear to us that this case was being predetermined.”
“Many of you have been made to believe that this marks the end of the road for us, that by withdrawing the court case, we have conceded defeat. Nothing could be further from the truth. The struggle has not ended. It is just starting.”
“This was just the legal route. The struggle continues in the political arena. We have never closed our avenue to continue with the political struggle. This is a political crisis and it requires a political solution. I still enjoy the mandate of my party as well as the support of millions of people who voted for change on July 31. Using that mandate, I will continue serving the people until we achieve the desired results.”
Meanwhile, Robert Mugabe will assume the chairmanship of SADC in March next year, taking over from Malawi, after being elected deputy chair this year.
The development means Zimbabwe will host the 34th ordinary summit of SADC Heads of State and Government in 2014.
The 14-member grouping of Southern African countries holds annual meetings in member countries to discuss issues affecting the region.
On his arrival from Malawi, President Mugabe was welcomed by Vice President Joice Mujuru, the Minister of State Security, Sidney Sekeramayi and the Minister of Defence, Emmerson Mnangagwa, other senior government officials, service chiefs and party officials.