Mugabe claims victory a blow to the West

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has declared his election victory an "enemy blow" to the "British and their allies". Mr Mugabe accused his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai, who declared the election null and void, of being a tool of the West.

The president’s re-election last week marks a 33-year unbroken run in power but there have been allegations of vote-rigging and election fraud.

Mr Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader at the age of 89, said his ZANU-PF party’s two-thirds majority victory had “dealt the enemy a blow”.

He added: “But now they, even as the whole of Africa is sending us messages of congratulations to say ‘well done’, they say the elections were not free. And where are they talking? London and Washington and Ottawa.”

 

Mr Mugabe reminded Western governments that they had pledged to consider lifting sanctions if the elections were found to be free and fair.

Mr Tsvangirai has announced that his MDC party will challenge the outcome of the July 31 election in court, alleging vote-rigging and intimidation by ZANU-PF party officials.

The African Union and the Southern African Development Community have declare the elections “free” and “credible” but refused to go so far as to say they were fair.

This, despite, monitors finding evidence of “irregularities” including people being sent to the wrong voting stations and two million more voting cards being printed than necessary.

 

 

Foreign Secretary William Hague has voiced “grave concerns” over activities that “call into serious question the credibility of the election”.

He said there was no evidence that the roll of eligible voters was made available for all parties to scrutinise ahead of the vote.

He added: “We also have concerns over reports of large numbers of voters who were turned away, particularly in urban areas, the very high numbers of extra ballot papers that were printed and additional polling stations apparently added on election day itself.”

The United States, which maintains sanctions against Mr Mugabe, has said it does not believe Mr Mugabe’s re-election was credible.

 

 

 

The European Union, which has been looking at easing sanctions, has also expressed concerns over alleged serious flaws in the vote.

Mr Mugabe, indicated his critics should not expect any let-up in economic nationalism policies, such as the violent seizure of white-owned farms after 2000, that have also earned Western disapproval.

He said: “Our task is to look ahead. What we say we shall do, we will do.”

The Zimbabwe stock exchange’s main Industrial Index shed 1% on Wednesday, following a 1.7% fall on Tuesday and an 11% drop on Monday, the first trading day after Mr Mugabe’s re-election was formerly announced.

Investors fear that ZANU-PF’s boosted majority could embolden it to pursue even more radical economic nationalism.