Tsvangirai To Pursue Democratic Means In “Rigged” Poll Fight

By Professor Matodzi

Harare, August 16, 2013 – MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday vowed to pursue democratic means to fight Zanu PF leader Robert Mugabe’s claim to victory in last month’s election as he withdrew his court challenge on the basis that he would not get a fair hearing.

Tsvangirai made the pledge late Friday in an affidavit he deposed to in the Constitutional Court justifying his decision to withdraw his election petition challenging Mugabe’s victory in the Constitutional Court.

“For these reasons, I have no option but to take this grave decision. This sadly as far as I am concerned entails that the Zimbabwe situation is far from resolved and on my part as the leader of my political party I shall endeavor to use all democratic means to bring about the successful resolution of this issue,” reads part of Tsvangirai’s affidavit, which was filed together with a notice of withdrawal of the poll petition late Friday and seen by Radio VOP.

Last week, Tsvangirai filed an election petition in the Constitutional Court seeking an order to declare the July 31 harmonised elections invalid and to have them set aside and demanded a fresh election be held in two months.

But on Friday, the former trade union leader withdrew his petition which was scheduled to be heard on Saturday in protest against the respondents’ attitude. The respondents include President Mugabe, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Justice Rita Makarau, the elections management body’s head and Lovemore Sekeramayi, ZEC’s chief elections officer.

He said High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu had not granted him an order allowing him access to all the voting and election material which he had requested through two urgent chamber applications in the Electoral Court.

This he said seriously handicapped his “prosecution of the petition”.

The respondents reneged on Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s instruction to file court papers including the heads of argument by Friday. Chidyausiku made the order when he met legal representatives for Tsvangirai and all the respondents on Wednesday during a case management meeting.

He also stated that Mugabe had made some unsavoury comments at the Heroes Acre criticising his decision to approach the courts in the presence of Chidyausiku, who was expected to preside over the poll petition.  He also protested against adverse pre-trial publicity which has been championed by the state-run media, particularly the Herald.

ZEC declared Mugabe as the winner of the presidential election with 61 percent of the vote while Tsvangirai garnered 33 percent.

The MDC-T leader has labeled the election outcome a “farce, fraudulent and stolen.”