|President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF wins a disputed landslide victory in the Zimbabwean national election|
The Roman Catholic churches and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe have asked their followers to wait patiently for talks to resolve outstanding issues and to not be consumed by bitterness that leads to violence.
However, the Zimbabwean police, prepared for possible disturbances on Sunday by putting up extra roadblocks in the capital, some of which were manned by police with automatic rifles. In downtown extra troops and water cannon trucks were brought in.
According to official results, Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader to Mugabe, took only 34 percent of the presidential votes as compared to Mugabe’s 62 percent and Tsvangirai said that the vote was “a monumental fraud,” which he will challenge.
Mugabe’s party also claimed a two-thirds majority in the 210 seat parliament which will give it the opportunity to change the country’s new constitution which it opposed when the charter was being rewritten.
Elizabeth Joseph, an Anglican worshipper said that it was inconceivable how Tsvangirai could have lost by such a huge margin. She added that church service that morning had been more like a funeral.
Due to allegations that Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party inflated voting and the absence of about 700,000 names of eligible voters from voter’s lists, observers from the African Union and regional southern African monitors have demanded that an investigation takes place.
According to independent observers, even if the official state election commission, which is dominated by supporters of Mugabe, decides to make available voting ballots, so that a complete audit of the lists can take place, it could take weeks to complete.
However, after the nine days that are allowed for legal challenges to the votes, the 89 year old Mugabe could be sworn in for his seventh term of office since independence in 1980. Mugabe and his party deny all knowledge of vote rigging.
Mugabe was congratulated by South African President Jacob Zuma who has been the chief regional mediator in Zimbabwe’s decade long political and economic crisis. In a statement from Zuma’s office, he also asked for the losers to accept defeat with honor and respect.