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Zimbabwe Judge Throws Out Election Charges - 2004-06-10


A High Court judge in Zimbabwe has dismissed part of an opposition candidate's lawsuit challenging the legality of President Robert Mugabe's 2002 re-election. The opposition questions the fairness of the decision.

Without an explanation, Judge Ben Hlatshwayo dismissed a part of the opposition candidate's lawsuit, which charged President Mugabe violated the constitution by changing the election laws to suit him. The opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, argued the president abused his powers in amending the election statute.

Mr. Tsvangirai's opponents charge that the 2002 presidential election was rigged and took place in the atmosphere of political intimidation is still pending. Some international observers of the elections concluded the elections were neither free nor fair.

Legal spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, David Coltart, said the judge's ruling does not surprise him because it was made by, what he called, a subverted judicial system. He said judges in Zimbabwe have been working under a great deal of political pressure from the ruling Zanu-PF party.

President Mugabe has denied wrongdoing in the disputed presidential poll.

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