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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
MDC considers protests against Mugabe landslide
for Democratic Change said on Friday it could take to the streets
to challenge President Robert Mugabe's victory in elections it rejects
as a farce and which face skepticism from the West.
No results of
vote on July 31 have been announced. But Mugabe's Zanu-PF has
already claimed a resounding win and interim tallies of the parliamentary
count suggest a massive victory for the 89-year-old, Africa's oldest
president, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980.
While the African
Union's monitoring mission chief has called Wednesday's peaceful
polls generally "free and fair" - Western observers were
kept out by Harare - domestic monitors have described them as "seriously
compromised" by registration flaws that may have disenfranchised
up to a million people.
the Southern African Development Community, a regional group, described
the elections as "free and peaceful" and urged Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai to accept the
who faces political annihilation in his third attempt to oust Mugabe
at the ballot box, has already denounced the vote as a "huge
farce" marred by polling day irregularities and intimidation
of the regional African verdict on the election could stir tensions
with the continent. Acceptance of Mugabe's victory will be criticized
in countries that say he is a despot guilty of rights abuses and
ruining the economy.
The mood on
the streets of the capital Harare was subdued on Friday as the MDC
leadership met to chart the next move, with everything from a legal
challenge to street protests on the table.
and mass action are options," party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora
voters expressed disbelief at the election outcome. "This is
daylight robbery, but I think the MDC should have realized that,
without violence, Zanu-PF would still do something to cheat,"
said McDonald Sibanda, a 34-year-old insurance salesman. "I'm
disgusted by all this."
An MDC protest
campaign against the election results could elicit a fierce response
from security forces and pro-Mugabe militias, who were accused of
killing 200 MDC supporters after Mugabe lost the first round of
the last election
and Zanu-PF deputy legal affairs secretary Patrick Chinamasa scoffed
at the MDC criticism of the vote.
When 3.95 million people go to vote in cold weather you call it
a farce?" he told a news conference. Chinamasa said defeated
candidates could take their complaints to the courts.
He also hinted
that Zanu-PF could, if the election confirms its new two-thirds
majority in parliament, seek to amend Zimbabwe's revised constitution
adopted earlier this year, which now limits presidential terms to
two five-year stints.
may need cleaning up," he said, although the essence of the
charter would not be changed.
ruler Britain, a sharp critic of Mugabe in the past, said it was
concerned that Zimbabwe had not enacted important electoral reforms
before the vote.
The U.S. government,
which maintains sanctions against Mugabe, said "a peaceful
and orderly election day does not by itself guarantee a free and
critical test is whether voting tabulation is conducted in a credible
and transparent manner, and whether the outcome truly reflects the
will of the people of Zimbabwe," U.S. State Department spokeswoman
Marie Harf said in Washington.
Europe and the
United States now face the awkward decision of what to do with the
sanctions they have in place against Mugabe and his inner circle.
will West do?
skepticism contrasted with the assessment made by the AU election
observer team leader, former Nigerian military leader and civilian
president Olusegun Obasanjo, who while acknowledging "minor
incidents" surrounding the July 31 poll said they were not
enough to affect the overall result.
called the election "not credible" and appealed to the
AU to investigate.
whose own re-election in Nigeria in 2003 was marked by violence
and widespread fraud allegations, declined to comment on the MDC
leader's assertion, calling him "an interested party".
The AU verdict,
echoed by President Jacob Zuma of Zimbabwe's powerful neighbor South
Africa, suggests the MDC's appeals for external pressure on Mugabe
may be falling on deaf ears
Zuma, main guarantor
of the unity government in Zimbabwe brokered after the 2008 unrest,
chose to focus on the orderly conduct of the poll. "Something
good has happened in Zimbabwe. The elections were so peaceful,"
he told broadcaster SABC.
But a Mugabe
victory would pose problems for the West.
the EU and U.S. in an extremely difficult situation," said
Piers Pigou, director of the southern Africa project of International
Crisis Group in Johannesburg.
Union, which relaxed some sanctions early this year after a new
constitution was approved in a referendum, said it was too early
to assess the election's fairness.
Given the sanctions,
the view from the West is key to the future of Zimbabwe's economy,
which is still struggling with the aftermath of a decade-long slump
and hyperinflation that ended in 2009 when the worthless Zimbabwe
dollar was scrapped.
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