Mugabe 'Wins' in Zimbabwe; but U.S. Rejects Election Results

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicole Itano, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe yesterday declared incumbent President Robert Mugabe the winner of elections that his opponents and much of the Western world say were rigged.

In Washington, President Bush said the United States refuses to accept the results.

"We do not recognize the outcome of the election, because we think it's flawed," he told reporters at the White House.

"We are dealing with our friends to figure out how to deal with this flawed election," Mr. Bush said.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell called the elections "neither free nor fair" and threatened to impose sanctions on the southern African nation.

"Mr. Mugabe may claim victory but not democratic legitimacy," Mr. Powell said in a statement.

According to official election results, opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai lost the election to Mr. Mugabe by almost 400,000 votes.

Mr. Tsvangirai called the election "daylight robbery" and said he would not accept the results.

"It is the biggest electoral fraud I have witnessed in my life," said Mr. Tsvangirai, the candidate of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Mr. Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe to independence from Britain, has ruled the nation since 1980. The just-concluded election gives him a new six-year term.

MDC officials and independent observers were absent from more than 40 percent of rural constituencies, many of which ultimately posted huge margins of victory for Mr. Mugabe.

Ballot boxes in many areas were unattended for part of their journey from polling stations to counting stations.

Pro-Mugabe vigilantes attacked opposition supporters throughout the campaign and during the voting.

One local human rights group says it has recorded more than 500,000 incidents of violence against opposition supporters in the last year.

In many urban areas, particularly in the opposition stronghold of Harare, the government cut the number of polling stations before the vote.

At remaining polling stations, thousands waited in line, sometimes overnight, during three days of voting. …