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
A poster by Durham Constabulary
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine