Zimbabwe’s constitutional court has ruled that a disputed elections which handed Robert Mugabe five more years in power were free and fair, dismissing allegations of vote-rigging.
Mr Mugabe was declared the winner in general elections on July 31 with 61 per cent of the ballot, against his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai’s 34 per cent.
“The Zimbabwe presidential election held on 31st July, 2013 was in accordance with the laws of Zimbabwe,” chief justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said.
“The said election was free, fair and credible.”
Local observers have called the polls flawed and Western powers have raised serious doubts over the vote, but regional organisations the African Union and Southern African Development Community were less critical.
Mr Tsvangirai condemned the election as “a farce” and “a massive fraud” and demanded a forensic audit of the election results, voters’ registers and numbers of voters who were turned away and those who were issued with certificates to vote.
He filed a petition two weeks ago challenging Mr Mugabe’s re-election vowing expose how the vote was rigged to hand Mr Mugabe victory.
In a surprise U-turn late last week, Mr Tsvangirai withdrew his petition saying he would not get a fair hearing.
He said the courts had frustrated his efforts for the release of election materials to use as evidence.
But the constitutional court went ahead and made a ruling on the case, clearing the way for Mr Mugabe’s inauguration on Thursday.