Zimbabwe election: Landslide victory for Robert Mugabe as president gets two-thirds majority

Opposition party says it does not rule out 'demonstrations and mass action' after process which it calls 'null and void'

President Robert Mugabe’s party has won a landslide victory in the Zimbabwe general election, taking 142 of the 210 parliament seats available.

The results come after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai declared the process “null and void”, while the two main observer groups said voting had been “very free” and “very peaceful”.

Most monitors nonetheless accept that there are “serious” concerns around how the electoral registers were drawn up, and a spokesman for the defeated opposition MDC party said “Demonstrations and mass action are options.”

Earlier on Thursday a senior aide to Mugabe told Reuters the party of the 89-year-old incumbent was already confident he would extend his 33 year rule.

“We've taken this election. We've buried the MDC. We never had any doubt that we were going to win,” he told the news agency.

ZANU-PF’s announcement was followed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai effectively conceding defeat, while at the same time discounting the process.

Mr Tsvangirai, who leads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), called the election a “monumental fraud”.

“It is our view that this election is null and void and does not meet international standards for a credible, legitimate, free and fair election. Once again Zimbabweans have been short-changed.

“We want to assure every Zimbabwean that this is the beginning of the end. Zanu-PF may have this victory as they would like to claim, but I would like to assure you that the resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis has never been so near.”

Having slammed the “shoddy manner” with which polls were conducted, MDC released a statement saying it received "radical" calls to take violent action from its supporters, reflecting "the frustration, hopelessness and anger in every one of us".

“We understand the tears in everyone's eyes but we certainly do not believe in violence to resolve this,” it said.

Rugare Gumbo, a spokesman for Mr Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, categorically denied all accusations of vote-rigging.

“We dismiss these allegations with the contempt they deserve because there was absolutely no way of manipulating the system. There was no way of rigging the election,” he said.

While the two main parties continued to disagree over the legitimacy of the elections, the main observing groups appeared to reach a consensus that they were indeed “fair”.

Mr Mugabe’s government banned Western missions from monitoring the process, leaving a great deal of responsibility for an international verdict in the hands of the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The leader of AU’s 70-member observer mission Olusegun Obasanjo said: “Yes, the election is free.”

He described the vote as credible unless any evidence to the contrary emerges, though observers admitted they had seen “incidences that could have been avoided and even tended to have breached the law”, and the group has asked election authorities to investigate.

South African agency Eyewitness News reported that the SADC said yesterday a group of their observers had seen “incorrect papers” put in ballot boxes.

In spite of this, they released a verdict today that said the election had been both “very free” and “very peaceful”.

Solomon Zwana, head of domestic organisation the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, was the only major independent group to deliver a damning verdict.

It found a “wide range of problems” in the election and that it had witnessed a campaign to stop voters from casting ballots.

The monitoring group said that the names of as many as 1 million out of more than 6 million eligible voters had not been added to polling booth registers.

The atmosphere in Harare was subdued following the announcement of the two-thirds victory for Mr Mugabe’s party, in stark contrast to the deadly violence that erupted after a disputed presidential poll in 2008.

And a spokesman for the EU said its foreign policy chief, Baroness Catherine Ashton, had “commended the people of Zimbabwe for turning out in large numbers to cast their votes, in what were broadly peaceful elections.”

He said: “She calls upon on all parties to maintain calm and order as the results of the poll become known.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border