Shingai Nyoka, Harare SABC News.com
President Mugabe has denied all charges of vote manipulation.
The inauguration of the winner of Zimbabwe’s election, president Robert Mugabe, will have to be postponed after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday lodged a constitutional court petition to nullify the presidential election result.
Tsvangirai wants the country’s top court to order fresh elections citing widespread vote manipulation and irregularities. Zimbabwe’s long-time ruler was overwhelmingly re-elected in last week’s polls in a vote endorsed by African leaders, but criticised by western countries.
“The prayer that we seek is that this election be declared null and void. And also that a fresh election be called in 60 days,” said Tsvangirai.
A court application of over 60 pages has been lodged with the constitutional court on Friday detailing claims of widespread vote irregularities.
Tsvangirai says he has oral and physical evidence to prove that the electorate was manipulated into voting for the long-time ruler.
“The grounds that we seek this nullification are 15 in number. These include bribery by some of the contesting candidates. We saw doling out of the foodstuffs, kitchenware and so-on. That is not allowed in terms of our constitution,” says MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora.
The AU and SADC leaders have largely endorsed the elections while Botswana and west have called for independent audit of vote saying result is not credible.
The MDC will argue that over half a million people were disenfranchised on voting day and 300 000 people were turned away – some of them after their names did not appear on the roll.
It also questions the high number of assisted voters. However, at the centre of the case are claims of intimidation against the traditional chiefs and security service and a faulty voter’s roll.
“We will be able to provide electronic evidence, and on the voter’s roll we have over 870 000 names duplicated, and in one instance. I think we have got the Tshuma family, the surname Tshuma is occupying 40 pages, and these people were all born on the same day,” says Mwonzora.
The constitutional court has 14 days to resolve the petition. Already, legal experts say that Tsvangirai will struggle to prove a direct link between the issues raised and his overwhelming loss.
Mugabe, who denies all charges of vote manipulation, received 2.1 million votes – a million more than Tsvangirai – to win the presidential election.
The AU and SADC leaders have largely endorsed the elections while Botswana and the west have called for an independent audit of votes saying that the result is not credible.
Court challenges against Zanu-PF candidates’ parliamentary wins are also expected to be presented to the electoral courts this week.