Mugabe rival withdraws vote challenge

August 17, 2013 7:14 am
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 Tsvangirai said in an affidavit he had no choice but to withdraw after election organisers blocked key documents needed in the petition/FILE

Tsvangirai said in an affidavit he had no choice but to withdraw after election organisers blocked key documents needed in the petition/FILE
HARARE, Aug 17 – Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has withdrawn a legal challenge to last month’s disputed presidential election which extended rival Robert Mugabe’s rule, his MDC party said on Friday, claiming the courts would not be fair.

This removed the last hurdle to 89-year-old leader Mugabe’s inauguration for a seventh term.

“The prime minister has withdrawn his election petition,” the Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said of Tsvangirai’s decision.

“The main reason is that this trial was going to be a mockery of justice,” he added. “We have tried to make use of the legal process and it has proved to be impossible.”

Tsvangirai said in an affidavit he had no choice but to withdraw after election organisers blocked key documents needed in the petition.

A lower court on Wednesday stalled his urgent application to force the documents’ release.

“The fact that I still do not have the material means that I cannot meaningfully prosecute my petition,” said Tsvangirai, who served as premier in a unity government with Mugabe following disputed polls in 2008.

The fact that I still do not have the material means that I cannot meaningfully prosecute my petition, said Tsvangirai, who served as premier in a unity government with Mugabe following disputed polls in 2008.

“This sadly as far as I am concerned entails that the Zimbabwe situation is far from resolved,” he added, vowing to resolve the political crisis through “democratic means”.

Tsvangirai has rejected the results of the July 31 poll which handed him 34 percent of the votes cast and declared Mugabe the winner with 61 percent.

Tsvangirai claims the vote was rigged and has called for fresh elections.

The MDC queried the unusually high numbers of voters turned away at the polling stations, especially in urban areas that are considered opposition strongholds.

In Friday’s affidavit Tsvangirai further accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of being “consistently secretive”, making “a mockery of the neutral role that they must play in these matters.”

The Constitutional Court would have heard arguments on Saturday to decide whether a full trial was necessary.

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