Robert Mugabe -President of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s veteran president Robert Mugabe has vowed never to give up his mandate after his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai lodged a petition in court challenging the election outcome.
Speaking on Monday, the 89-year-old said those upset by his disputed landslide election victory could “go hang”.
“Those who were hurt by defeat can go hang if they so wish,” Mugabe told thousands at a rally to honour heroes of the country’s liberation wars.
“Never will we go back on our victory,” he said in his first public address since the July 31-vote.
Mugabe was declared the winner with 61 per cent of the ballots, against Tsvangirai’s 34 per cent, but the polls have been described by his opponent and some international observers as a ‘sham’.
He insisted that the Zimbabwean people’s choice in government was clear.
“We are delivering democracy on a platter. We say take it or leave it, but the people have delivered democracy,” he said.
His lawyers on Friday filed a petition at the Constitutional Court challenging the poll, which extended Mugabe’s 33-year rule by another five years.
“All I can see is a nation in mourning over the audacity of so few to steal from so many,” he said in a statement.
But “the thief left so much evidence at the scene of crime as we shall expose in the people’s petition that we filed last week.”
The elections were to end a shaky power-sharing government formed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai to avoid a tip into conflict in the aftermath of a bloody run-off election in 2008.
Tsvangirai’s defeat has relegated his Movement for Democratic Change back to the opposition benches.
Local observers have called the polls flawed and Western powers have raised serious doubts over the vote.
However, regional organisations the African Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC) were less critical, with former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, who led the AU delegation describing the election as “fairly fair”.