African Union observers say Zimbabwe election fair, credible

Mugabe 89 vows to 'step down' if he loses
Mugabe 89 vows to 'step down' if he loses

The head of the African Union (AU) observer mission to Zimbabwe says this week’s general election was free, fair and credible.

The endorsement on Friday comes despite criticism from the main Zimbabwean observer group, which said the poll was “seriously compromised”.

Partial results of Wednesday’s poll have given president Robert Mugabe a commanding lead, with his ZANU-PF party garnering 87 seats out of 120 declared.

The head of the AU’s monitoring mission, Olusegun Obasanjo, acknowledged what he called “incidents that may have breached the law”, but he concluded that the results would still reflect the will of the people.

Local Zimbabwean observers have condemned the election as flawed, saying up to 1 million people were unable to vote.

Mr Mugabe’s main challenger, prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has dismissed the entire process as a “huge farce”.

The Southern African regional bloc SADC has also urged the two election rivals to respect the results of the vote

“In democracy we not only vote, not only campaign, but accept the hard facts, particularly the outcome,” the SADC’s top election observer Bernard Membe said.