Zimbabwe’s opposition has dismissed President Robert Mugabe’s winning of a presidential poll as a “farce”, with the main opponent Morgan Tsvangirai calling the vote as “fraudulent and stolen”.
On Sunday, Rugare Gumbo, a spokesperson of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, said it has rejected calls for new elections and “Western” criticism.
“The West is disappointed with the outcome because their puppet lost. But you were there, you saw that everything was done accordingly, there was peace and tranquility,” Gumbo told Al Jazeera.
He acknowledged that there were issues with voter registrations and the voters roll, but it did not warrant a new poll.
Mugabe, 89, who has run the country since he helped end white rule in 1980, trounced long-standing political rival Tsvangirai, in Wednesday’s election, Zimbabwean election officials said.
By the time he completes his new tenure, Mugabe will have ruled the former British colony in southern Africa for 38 years.
The US has backed the opposition saying the vote was not “credible”, but South African President Jacob Zuma, congratulated Mugabe on his seventh election victory.
“President Zuma urges all political parties in Zimbabwe to accept the outcome of the elections as election observers reported it to be an expression of the will of the people,” a foreign ministry statement said.
Al Jazeera’s Azad Essa, reporting from Harare, said that Zuma’s endorsement of Mugabe’s win will prove to be “particularly damning for the opposition”, since he is the head of the SADC’s (Southern African Development Community) facilitation team for Zimbabwe.
“[Zuma’s] comments mirror the AU and SADC, who have both endorsed these elections as credible, but given that the main opposition party has formally rejected the results and there have been so many irregularities documented by both SADC and the AU, his comments do little to address the political crisis that Zimbabwe is facing,” he reported.
“Mugabe’s government faces a crisis of legitimacy within the country and Zuma’s comments glaze over the reality on the ground.”
Earlier, the US Secretary of State John Kerry described the election as “deeply flawed” and said the US “does not believe that the results …today represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people”.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague added his own “grave concerns” over the conduct of the vote in the former colony.
|Olusegun Obasanjo, head African Union mission in Zimbabwe, talks to Al Jazeera
On Sunday, Australia called for Zimbabwe to go to the polls again.
“Given our doubts about the results, Australia calls for a re-run of the elections based on a verified and agreed voters roll,” Foreign Minister Bob Carr said in a statement.
The EU expressed concern about “incomplete participation, as well as the identified weaknesses in the electoral process and a lack of transparency”.
The poll’s credibility was further called into question by the resignation of one of the country’s nine official electoral commissioners over the manner in which the polls were conducted.
Official results showed Mugabe won 61 percent of the presidential vote and his party got a super majority in parliament that will allow it to change the constitution.
He beat Tsvangirai who trailed with just 34 percent, according to official results.
Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party also won 158 out of a possible 210 parliamentary seats, official results showed, with Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party taking 50.
Tsvangirai, 61, who has unsuccessfully tried to unseat Mugabe three times, condemned the vote as “fraudulent and stolen”.
The reaction in the Sunday press was divisive with state-controlled newspaper The Herald proclaiming “President Mugabe romps to victory”, while the independent Daily News said “It’s a crisis”.
Tsvangirai vowed to challenge the result in court and said his would boycott government institutions.
“We will not join government,” he said. “We will go to court.
Tsvangirai, who was part of a coalition government with Mugabe since 2009, has defended the decision then to enter into the power-sharing government.
But Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party says there is no more need for the MDC in the new government.
“We have received over 60 percent of the vote, we have two thirds majority, why would we want to bring someone else on board,” State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi said to AFP.
The MDC now has until Wednesday to present evidence of fraud to the high court, but finding a smoking gun may prove difficult. Inauguration is expected within 48 hours of the court’s decision.
Tsvangirai said he would submit a dossier of “all irregularities and all the illegalities” to the influential 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) and called for an urgent summit.
The opposition leader has so far stopped short of calling his supporters onto the streets, fearing a repeat of the bloody crackdown that followed his win in the first round of 2008 polls.