Rival ends Zimbabwe election challenge to re-election of Robert Mugabe

Story highlights

  • Voters went to the polls on July 31 to pick a new president
  • Zimbabwe's election commission declared that incumbent Mugabe won
  • Challenger Tsvangirai says he is withdrawing a court case on the election
  • He says the election commission has not released material he wanted for the case

Zimbabwe's prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, said late Friday that "with deep regret and sadness" he has withdrawn a court case challenging President Robert Mugabe's re-election on July 31.

In two-page affidavit filed at Constitutional Court, Tsvangirai said he was not happy that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had not released election material he wanted to use in the court case.

"This in my view seriously handicaps my prosecution of the petition and it has rendered in impracticable," said Tsvangirai, who has since 2000 made three attempts to unseat the now-89-year old Mugabe, Zimbabwe's only ruler since 1980.

ZEC declared that Mugabe had defeated Tsvangirai with 61% of the vote to 34% in the July 31 polls.

In the court challenge, Tsvangirai had said ZEC had rigged the election for Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, which won a two-thirds majority in parliament.

"I shall endeavor to use all democratic means to bring about the successful resolution of this issue," added Tsvangirai.

The issue of Zimbabwe is likely to dominate the meeting of regional South Afridan Development Community leaders in Malawi this weekend.

In 2008, African leaders refused to recognize an election in which Mugabe claimed victory over Tsvangirai. They forced the two to form a fragile power-sharing government that ended with the July 31 elections.