Mugabe tells opponents Zanu-PF victory will never be reversed
Zimbabwean president rejects allegations that vote was stolen in rigged election
In his first public speech since winning his seventh consecutive term in office, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe yesterday said those who were against him could “go hang”. Photograph: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo
Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe has told members of the Movement for Democratic Change, which says his Zanu-PF party rigged the outcome of the country’s recent election, that they will never reverse his victory.
Addressing a crowed yesterday in his first public speech since controversially winning his seventh consecutive term in office, Mr Mugabe (89) rejected claims that the vote was stolen. He said those who were against him could “go hang”.
“Those who lost elections may commit suicide if they so wish. Even if they die, dogs will not eat their flesh,” he said during the speech to mark Heroes Day, a public holiday that commemorates Zimbabweans who died in its war of independence.
He went on to describe Morgan Tsvangirai, his rival in the general election presidential race, as the “enemy” in his party’s midst, an apparent reference to the MDC leader’s time in the coalition government that was established after the last disputed poll in 2008.
‘They are thieves’
“We have thrown the enemy away like garbage,” said Mr Mugabe. “They say we have rigged, but they are thieves [because of corruption during the MDC’s time in the government].We say to them: ‘You are never going to rise again’.”
He added: “We are delivering democracy on a platter. Never will we go back on our victory.”
Zimbabwe’s July 31st presidential election gave Mr Mugabe 61 per cent of the vote, compared to the 34 per cent secured by his closest rival, Mr Tsvangirai.
Zanu-PF also hammered the MDC in the parliamentary election, taking 158 of the 2010 seats in the House of Assembly. The MDC won only 50 seats.
Last Friday the MDC launched a legal challenge against the outcome of the crunch election at the constitutional court. It accused Zanu-PF of manipulating the voters’ roll to disenfranchise up to one million voters.
In addition, the MDC says it has evidence of electoral irregularities, including bribery and abuse of assisted voting, a practice whereby officials help the electorate to cast their ballot.
The nine presiding judges at Zimbabwe’s highest court have until August 23rd to deliver a verdict.
African election observers, apart from those with the Botswana mission, have refused to condemn the poll as fraudulent, saying they would reserve their judgment until evidence has been presented.
The Southern African Development Community has said it was “free and peaceful” but stopped short of calling it fair.
However, local election observers maintain Zanu-PF has committed widespread electoral fraud, especially in urban areas which are traditional MDC strongholds.
The MDC boycotted the official celebrations, but Mr Tsvangirai issued a statement to his supporters to mark the day.
In the message he said Zimbabweans are “still shocked by the brazen manner in which their vote was stolen”.
“So many sons and daughters of this country sacrificed their lives . . . and one of the fundamental rights they toiled . . . for was the right to vote,” he maintained.