Skip to main content

Mugabe declared winner of presidency in Zimbabwe

By Columbus S. Mavhunga and Faith Karimi, CNN
updated 7:59 PM EDT, Sat August 3, 2013
Robert Mugabe has been the leader of Zimbabwe in southern Africa since 1980 and is the country's only leader since it gained independence from Britain. He was declared victor for his seventh term as president of Zimbabwe on Saturday, August 3, according to the head of the country's Election Commission. Allegations of voter fraud have surfaced for this most recent vote, and tensions were already high due to a troubled 2008 vote. That election left Mugabe as the only candidate after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai dropped out amid election fraud, violence and arrests targeting his party and supporters. Robert Mugabe has been the leader of Zimbabwe in southern Africa since 1980 and is the country's only leader since it gained independence from Britain. He was declared victor for his seventh term as president of Zimbabwe on Saturday, August 3, according to the head of the country's Election Commission. Allegations of voter fraud have surfaced for this most recent vote, and tensions were already high due to a troubled 2008 vote. That election left Mugabe as the only candidate after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai dropped out amid election fraud, violence and arrests targeting his party and supporters.
HIDE CAPTION
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
Political life and career of Robert Mugabe
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tsvangirai to challenge the results in court
  • African Union gives its blessing, despite noting shortcomings
  • Problems included voters getting turned away and biased media, they say
  • U.S. says it doesn't believe results "represent a credible expression" of the people's will

Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- The only leader that the independent Zimbabwe has ever known will be at the helm for another five years, following an election that pitted 89-year-old President Robert Mugabe against his longtime foe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mugabe was elected to his seventh term as president with 61% of Wednesday's vote, the head of the country's Election Commission said Saturday.

Tsvangirai, who won 34%, according to the election commission, has alleged widespread fraud and was quick to promise a court challenge.

"A fraudulent and a stolen election has plunged Zimbabwe into a constitutional, political and economic crisis," said Tsvangirai, 61.

The commission also announced that Mugabe's ZANU-PF party won a two-thirds majority in parliament.

Election observers and foreign officials raised doubts Saturday about the way the election was conducted, though some of them noted it was peaceful -- in contrast to the last election, in 2008, where post-vote violence left at last 200 people dead and thousands injured.

Fast Facts: Robert Mugabe

The Southern African Development Community deployed 573 observers to all 10 of the country's provinces and "observed that in general voting took place in a free and peaceful environment" and that election commission staffers "conducted themselves professionally." But it noted areas of concern.

The African Union, which also sent observers, praised Zimbabwe for holding peaceful elections. It made no mention of rigging allegations but noted shortcomings, saying some voters were turned away, polling stations published their tallies late and members of the media took sides.

Even so, the AU said, "The mission observes generally, that from a historical perspective and in comparison to the 2008 elections, Zimbabwe has made an important transition in the conduct of its elections."

Tsvangirai's party, the Movement for Democratic Change, issued a statement saying it expects the African Union and SADC to "meet urgently to deal with this crisis in order to restore constitutional, political and legal legitimacy in the country."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in a statement Saturday, criticized "the culmination of a deeply flawed process."

"In light of substantial irregularities reported by domestic and regional observers, the United States does not believe the results announced today represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people," Kerry said.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, meanwhile, commended the peaceful nature of the vote, but expressed concern over how it was conducted.

Citing the AU and SADC statements, he said, "I hope that their final assessments of the elections will take into account the full impact of these irregularities on the outcome."

The reported irregularities "call into serious question the credibility of the election," Hague said.

With his controversial win, Mugabe is set to see his time in power extended to 38 years.

Who is Robert Mugabe?

Mugabe helped form the Republic of Zimbabwe after the British rule of Rhodesia came to an end in 1980, and after elections that year, he served as Zimbabwe's first prime minister for seven years.

After a new constitution in 1987 replaced the office of prime minister with an executive president, Zimbabwe's national assembly elected Mugabe to a four-year term as president. Elections in 1990, 1996 and 2002 all saw Mugabe win successive six-year terms.

Beginning in the 1990s, Mugabe began to alienate himself from the international community by forcing white farmers to give up their land for redistribution to black Zimbabweans. Farm output later decreased sharply amid a famine in the country, and Human Rights Watch accused Mugabe's government of using starvation as a tool to gain voter support.

The European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on Mugabe and members of his party amid reports of human rights violations. In 2003, Mugabe withdrew the country from the Commonwealth.

Fast Facts: Morgan Tsvangirai

Tsvangirai ran unsuccessfully against Mugabe in 2002 and was later arrested several times, jailed on charges of treason and severely beaten in police custody.

He faced off against Mugabe in the last election and won more votes than the president, though not enough to avoid a runoff. Violence broke out, and Tsvangirai then pulled out of the runoff claiming widespread voter intimidation and the torture, mutilation and murder of his supporters.

Months later, after international pressure and successful negotiations, Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed an agreement giving Tsvangirai the post of prime minister in a Mugabe-led government. It has been an uneasy coalition ever since, one that included a brief boycott of the coalition by the MDC over the arrest of a party leader.

Journalist Columbus S. Mavhunga reported this story from Harare, and Faith Karimi reported and wrote from London.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 4:46 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
A picture taken on June 28, 2014 shows a member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) putting on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated. The World Health Organization has warned that Ebola could spread beyond hard-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to neighbouring nations, but insisted that travel bans were not the answer.
The worst ebola outbreak in history spreads out of control in West Africa. CNN's Michael Holmes reports.
updated 8:48 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT