Harare, Zimbabwe – The presidential candidate of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, has withdrawn his petition at the Constitutional Court against the election of Mr. Robert Mugabe in the 31 July presidential polls, citing the non-availability of crucial vote material which formed the basis of his court challenge.
According to the Zimbabwean daily Newsday, Tsvangirai withdrew the petition in a sworn affidavit filed at the Supreme Court this weekend.
“As at the time of deposing of this affidavit (15:43 hours on Friday August 16, 2013), the judgment in applications for materials had not been delivered. This, in my view, seriously handicaps my prosecution of the petition and it has rendered it impracticable for me to proceed with the same,” he said in his deposition.
The hearing had been set to commence Saturday.
The MDC-T leader also said his confidence was not inspired by the presence of Chief Justice (Godfrey Chidyausiku) at the National Heroes’ Acre during Heroes’ Day celebrations on 12 Aug., where President Mugabe made ”certain unsavoury comments in which he criticised my decision to approach this court”.
“For these reasons, I consider that I have no other 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 leader of my political party, I shall endeavour to use all democratic means to bring about a successful resolution of this issue,” Tsvangirai added.
The decision paved the way for Mugabe, 89, to be sworn in as President for another term.
Mugabe, who contested on the platform of his ZANU-PF party, was declared winner of the 31 July election, but Tsvangirai had challenged the result at the Constitutional Court, citing several irregularities during the voting process.
On Saturday, the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), at a summit in the Malawi capital, Lilongwe, endorsed the disputed elections in Zimbabwe, calling it “free and peaceful”.
“I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate my dear brother, His excellency Cmde Gabriel Robert Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and the people of Zimbabwe for conducting peaceful elections,” said Malawi president Joyce Banda, the in-coming chair of the 14-member regional bloc.
“We wish to assure the government and the people of Zimbabwe of our continued support as a member of this family,” she said.
On her part, AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma also endorsed and congratulated Mugabe “for having a free and peaceful election”.