President-elect Mugabe denies rigging Zimbabwe election

President of Zimbabwe
Robert Mugabe, former President of Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980.

Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe, has denied charges of rigging the July 31 elections after he and his party scored a landslide victory over the opposition.

During the general elections, Mr. Mugabe won 61 per cent of the vote and his Zanu-PF party gained more than 70 per cent of the 210 elected seats in the parliament.

In his first public speech after re-election at a rally for Heroes’ Day, Mr. Mugabe thanked Zimbabweans for securing and defending the country’s heritage by voting overwhelmingly for his party.

The Heroes’ Day celebration is relevant to the Zanu-PF as it is the party that participated in the struggle against the white-ruled Rhodesia and won the independence of present day Zimbabwe.

The veteran president has ruled Zimbabwe since its 1980 independence. But the inauguration was postponed after his main rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, approached the country’s top court to challenge the poll’s outcome.

According to the law, the court will rule on the case in 14 days and only after that can the new president be sworn in.

Mr. Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party is alleging that several irregularities, including a “manipulated” voters’ roll were used by Mugabe and his party to rig the elections.

But many analysts predict that Mr. Tsvangirai’s efforts to challenge the results will be fruitless as the African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Union (SADC) and many African states have largely endorsed the election and urged all parties to accept the results.

Mr. Tsvangirai, who is demanding an election re-run, said he had prepared a dossier of evidence to support his claims of vote fraud which he will present to SADC and the AU.

Mr. Mugabe warned that Mr. Tsvangirai and his party should be careful in their poll challenge as they may end up exposing themselves. He said after defeat by Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party in 2008 polls, his Zanu-PF party regrouped and strategised on how to reclaim power from the MDC-T.

“After our defeat in 2008, we realised that we were dining with thieves. And now we know and we will never give power to thieves,” Mr. Mugabe said.

The president-elect also promised to revive the economy, particularly in the mining and manufacturing sectors, and to improve working conditions of civil servants and liberation war heroes.

“The Mining Promotion Corporation and an exploration company would be set up to coordinate exploration activities in the country,” he said.

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“The exploration company will build an inventory of bankable mining projects,” he said.

He urged Zimbabweans to work for the success of the upcoming UN World Tourism Organisation General Assembly to be co-hosted by the country and Zambia in the coming days.

In the aftermath of the party’s victory in national elections, Mr. Mugabe urged Zimbabweans to direct their energies to the accelerated development of the country and to remain vigilant in safeguarding the country’s national heritage.

(Xinhua/NAN)

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