Robert Mugabe will be installed this week as Zimbabwe’s next president, after the Constitutional Court officially accepts the withdrawal of an election challenge by the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), according to ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo.
“All it means is that the president, comrade Robert Mugabe, and the ZANU-PF are totally exonerated of the charges leveled of rigging ... and as far as we are concerned, we can now go ahead with the inauguration of the president and the setting up of government,” said Gumbo.
The MDC petitioned to challenge the results that gave electoral victory to President Mugabe and the ZANU-PF a parliament majority.
Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC spokesman, told VOA senior ZANU-PF officials, including the first lady, contravened the constitution and the electoral laws in the run up to the elections. He also said there is TV and radio evidence that show President Mugabe’s wife dolling out gifts to supporters in return for votes. The constitution and the country’s electoral law outlaw gift giving during elections.
But Gumbo says the decision of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC to withdraw its court challenge demonstrates that the July 31 general election was credible.
Gumbo says the Constitutional Court could officially accept the MDC’s petition withdrawal Monday.
“That means Tsvangirai’s people would have to formally withdraw the allegation that he was making against the ZANU-PF and the president,” said Gumbo.
He says preparations to install Mugabe as the elected president was briefly stalled following the court challenge.
“If the case is resolved on Monday, which I think will be the case, [Mugabe] has 48 hours in which he needs to be sworn in, which would be probably around Wednesday,” said Gumbo. “Preparations were stalled because we did not know exactly when this was going to be resolved. But now that we know it is going to be Wednesday or Thursday, preparations would be in full swing.”
Clottey interview with Rugare Gumbo, ZANU-PF Spokesman