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Mugabe Rival Withdraws Election Challenge


MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai addresses mourners at the burial of activist Rebecca Mafukeni in Harare, Aug. 14, 2013.

MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai addresses mourners at the burial of activist Rebecca Mafukeni in Harare, Aug. 14, 2013.

Zimbabwe’s prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has withdrawn a constitutional court challenge to Robert Mugabe's July 31 re-election as president.

In a two-page affidavit served at Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court, Prime Minister Tsvangirai said it was with “deep regret and sadness” that he was withdrawing the case in which he wanted Mugabe’s re-election nullified. Douglas Mwonzora is a lawyer and spokesman for the MDC party. He says his party has three reasons for withdrawing the challenge.

“All the material we have been waiting has not been brought to us. This is in possession of ZEC [the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission] to do with the elections. We have been told that we cannot lead oral evidence in the Constitutional Court, so our plan to bring people of Zimbabwe whose rights have been violated [during polling] cannot work," he said, explaining that President Mugabe has recently stated that the results will not be overturned.

"The number three; President Mugabe said at Heroes Day there is not going to be overturning of the election result. And he said that in the presence of the Chief Justice and other judges, so we are not going to proceed. This is going to be rubber stamping and we do not want to take Zimbabweans for granted."

The MDC official said his party hoped regional SADC leaders meeting in Malawi in the coming days would look at the situation in Zimbabwe. In 2008, African leaders refused to recognize an election in which Mugabe claimed victory over Tsvangirai. They forced the two to form a fragile power-sharing government that ended with last month's elections.

Official results showed Mugabe winning 61 percent of the presidential vote, while his ZANU-PF party took about two-thirds of the seats in parliament. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since the country won independence in 1980.

Since Mugabe’s re-election, Zimbabwe’s stock market has fallen with analysts blaming the drop on a lack of confidence on his policies.

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