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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
oath, Mugabe adds to his rule of Zimbabwe
Lydia Polgreen, The New York Times
August 21, 2013
View this article
on The New York Times website
was sworn in as president
of Zimbabwe on Thursday in a pomp-filled ceremony in the capital,
Harare, that extends by five years his 33-year rule.
Mr. Mugabe won
a broad but hotly disputed victory in Zimbabwe’s
national election on July 31, defeating his main rival, Morgan
Tsvangirai, by nearly 30 percentage points. It was a surprising
turnabout for Mr. Mugabe, 89, who won fewer votes than Mr. Tsvangirai
did in the previous presidential
election, in 2008, and was forced into forming a unity government.
Mr. Mugabe struck
a conciliatory note in his televised inaugural speech, given in
a stadium filled with thousands of cheering supporters. He praised
Mr. Tsvangirai and other opposition leaders, and called for unity.
have competition and winners and losers,” Mr. Mugabe said.
“We shall never be competing to be Zimbabweans.”
party, the Movement for Democratic Change, called the election a
farce and rejected the result as illegitimate, a view shared by
many local observers and the United States, which said the vote
did not represent the will of the Zimbabwean people.
roll was not made available until the day before the election, and
it was only on paper, which is all but impossible to analyze for
fraud and omissions. Many voters were turned away, and there was
a high instance of voters’ requiring assistance, which is
unusual in a country with high literacy rates like Zimbabwe, observers
said. In previous versions of the roll, urban voters and young people
- the core supporters of the opposition - were badly underrepresented.
the African Union and the Southern African Development Community,
a regional economic and trading bloc, also pointed out serious problems
with the vote, but accepted
for Democratic Change had filed a legal challenge
to the result in the country’s Constitutional Court, but withdrew
it when the government refused to hand over voting materials and
other evidence the opposition needed to prove its case.
clear that the whole exercise was fraudulent,” said Douglas
Mwonzora, a spokesman for the party. “We did not get the evidence
we needed, and the court would not allow us to lead evidence from
witnesses. We had no means to make our case.”
had little hope in the courts in any case, Mr. Mwonzora said, since
they are packed with Mugabe loyalists. Indeed, the court decided
to rule despite the withdrawal of the challenge, declaring on Tuesday
that the election had been free and fair.
just wanted to create a judgment in favor of Mugabe,” Mr.
was meant to end the crisis that has plagued Zimbabwe since the
disastrous 2008 presidential election, in which Mr. Tsvangirai won
the most votes but refused to participate in a runoff because of
attacks on his supporters. Regional powers brokered a deal that
created an uneasy coalition government that retained Mr. Mugabe
as president and made Mr. Tsvangirai prime minister.
victory, Mr. Mugabe faces a difficult road ahead. His health is
believed to be frail, and his party, Zanu-PF, is deeply divided
over who will succeed him. The country’s economy is fragile.
accepting his victory, few of Mr. Mugabe’s fellow African
leaders were eager to help him celebrate his inauguration. South
Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, begged off, sending a deputy
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