Morgan Tsvangirai urges his supporters not to lose hope

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who lost his bid for the presidency in last week's general election, on Thursday urged his supporters not to lose hope as he prepares to launch a court challenge to the poll results he claims were fraudulent.

Tsvangirai, who was prime minister in the last government, is expected to take his appeal to the Constitutional Court on Friday in an effort to overturn the election result. The election gave a landslide victory to President Robert Mugabe.

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Tsvangirai has accused Mr Mugabe of winning by a vast rig, including excluding up to a million voters he believes would have voted for his MDC-T party. In a video message posted on his Facebook page, Mr Tsvangirai said “Don’t lose hope, this is the beginning of the end and the future is in your hands,”

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“I can assure you that as the sun rises and as it sets, the people of Zimbabwe who voted for change will once again achieve that milestone. I want to thank you for the resilience and for the victory that you deserve.”

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“However, were it not for the forces of evil and the forces of retrogression, the chaos faction, you will be today celebrating a new Zimbabwe,” he said, referring to Mr Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, which official results show won 61 percent of the July 31 vote. MDC-T took 34 percent.

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Mr Tsvangirai said the elections were a “farce” and accused ZANU-PF of rigging the elections to ensure that Mugabe 89, already in power for 33 years would remain in power.

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Police have maintained an armed detail near MDC-T’s Harvest House headquarters for the past week in anticipation of unrest.

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Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said: “The reason why there is police presence close by Harvest House is that we are maintaining law and order and deter anyone who is bent on causing mayhem and disorder in the country.”

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The leader of the Mavambo Kusile Dawn (MKD) party, former ZANU-PF MP Simba Makoni, on Thursday joined Mr Tsvangirai in rejecting the election results as neither free nor fair.

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Welshman Ncube, leader of the smaller MDC, has also rejected the vote result but said he will not pursue his complaints of a ZANU-PF rig through the courts.

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“Elections were neither fair nor free, as such the outcome is not legitimate. That the elections were rigged is not debatable, it is a fact,” Mr Ncube said. “We’ve considered all options but opted to refrain from taking the disputes to court.” He added “It is therefore our well considered view that taking this matter to court will be akin to going to Robert Mugabe and asking him to reverse his ‘victory’.