Opposition blasts Mugabe win

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

With most results declared from the parliamentary elections, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which along with Western governments dismissed the poll as fraudulent, said it would meet to discuss its next steps.

“The president is going to meet all candidates and then the MDC national executive committee tomorrow. After that there will be a statement on how we move forward,” said a spokesman for MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The opposition leader hinted his supporters might take to the streets to express their outrage, saying the party had given up on court challenges after unsuccessfully battling results in both 2000 and 2002 elections it said were rigged.

With results in from 105 of the 120 contested seats, Mugabe’s ZANU-PF had 69 — one short of the 70 it needs for a two-thirds majority.

The veteran leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, appoints 30 members in the 150-seat parliament.

By the time the results centre closed, the MDC had 35 seats. Former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, purged by Mugabe in a row over his succession, hung onto his seat as an independent.

Securing the two-thirds majority it narrowly missed in the outgoing parliament would cement ZANU-PF’s 25-year rule.

Analysts say the party could use its majority to push through constitutional changes to protect Mr Mugabe from the kind of prosecutions that have plagued some other African leaders when they stepped down. Mr Mugabe is due to retire in 2008.

Critics accuse President Mugabe of ruining once-prosperous Zimbabwe by a chaotic seizure of white farms for landless blacks and economic mismanagement.

Zimbabwe, once a regional breadbasket, is now crippled by huge inflation, unemployment and food and fuel shortages.

Mr Mugabe blames his Western critics for sabotaging the economy and had demanded a crushing ZANU-PF victory to see off the challenge from the MDC, which he pillories as a British puppet.

The MDC says the whole electoral process favoured ZANU-PF and the 5.78 million-strong voting roll was inflated with 1 million “ghost voters.” It also questioned why tens of thousands of voters were turned away from polling stations.

Regional observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), who had been expected to give the poll a clean bill of health, expressed concerns.

“The picture that emerged at the close of the poll was an election day which was peaceful. Notwithstanding these initial observations the SADC elections observer mission is however concerned with the number of people who were turned away from polling stations,” the mission said in a statement.

The conduct of the poll was roundly condemned by Western governments including Britain, the European Union and Germany.

“Given everything that’s gone on during (the) whole election process, including some of the reports that we’re getting now, it would be very hard to say that these are free and fair,” State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in Washington.

Even so, campaigning and voting were generally free of the violence that marred parliamentary polls in 2000 and Mugabe’s re-election in 2002.

The conduct of those elections is at the root of Mugabe’s international isolation.

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