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Zimbabwe’s Main Opposition Ponders Its Next Move Following Court Ruling

Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says its lawyers are studying Monday’s High Court ruling before deciding its next line of action. The MDC blames incumbent President Robert Mugabe’s government for thwarting the will of Zimbabweans by refusing to announce the results of the March 29 presidential election. It claims party leader Morgan Tsavangirai won the presidential election with over 50 percent of the votes cast.

The MDC also accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of embarking on what it described as a bogus vote recount to help rig the elections in favor of President Mugabe in order to force a runoff. But supporters of Mugabe dismissed the opposition’s accusations as mere rhetoric.

Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro is the international affairs secretary for the opposition MDC. From the capital, Harare he tells reporter Peter Clottey that Zimbabweans are frustrated with the election controversy.

“We were amazed by the decision of the court because the judge was asked to rule on the functional role of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission whether or not they are able to discharge their duty. To us, it was an open and shut case, but we are amazed that there was reference to the constitutionality of the matter. Nevertheless, our lawyers are studying the judgment of the court and we would be advised on the appropriate route to take,” Mukonoweshuro noted.

He accused President Mugabe’s government of thwarting the opposition’s victory in the recent presidential election.

“It would appear that we are reaching a culde-sac, where all remedies available to us are being blocked. We were following the legal route, but it appears that we have reached a brick wall. So, we are waiting for our lawyers to give us advice that will shape our way forward,” he said.

Mukonoweshuro described as unfortunate and an affront to Zimbabweans South African President Thabo Mbeki’s recent statement about the crisis in Zimbabwe,

“We are amazed and flabbergasted by that statement from Mr. Mbeki. Mr. Mbeki once mediator chosen by SADC (Southern African Development Commission) to broker dialogue between the MDC and ZANU-P, which means clearly that he had been sent by SADC to try and see if he can put the political parties on the negotiating table to dilute the crisis. Now, for him to turn around and say that he was not brokering talks on a crisis is absolute nonsense. And I hope that Mr. Mbeki, with the greatest respect he made that statement when he was sober because it appears that there is an inability by Mr. Mbeki to bring together the fact of the matter, and be informed by his own analysis as the way to proceed,” Mukonoweshuro pointed out.

He said the South African President should have taken a cue from his party (the ruling African National Congress, ANC) leader Jacob Zuma.

“I would like to say that the head of the ANC, Mr. Jacob Zuma is on record as accepting and acknowledging that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe. It would seem then that Mr. Mbeki was speaking on his own behalf, not on behalf of the ANC as a political organization,” he said.

Mukonoweshuro reiterated that ordinary Zimbabweans are frustrated.

“Let me say in the first response that the mood in the country is electric. The people are despondent they are disappointed that the outcome of tier vote is being robbed of them. It’s now a matter for Zimbabwe the generality of Zimbabweans to take this situation into their own reckoning, and decide how to proceed because all remedies that we thought would be available to the party that is the constitutional and legal… the appeal to SADC to intervene is being negated by Mr. Mbeki’s reckless statement so, it is up to the people of Zimbabwe,” Mukonoweshuro said.