MDC to challenge election results

The Zimbabwean opposition plans to file a challenge against Zanu-PF's win by Friday.

FILE: Zimbabwe Prime Minister and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai pictured on March 15, 2013 talking to church leaders about the upcoming elections. Picture: AFP/JEKESAI NJIKIZANA

HARARE - Zimbabwean opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), says it will launch a court challenge to the results of the presidential polls which took place last week Wednesday.

The action will also refute the results in around 100 constituencies where it lost to President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

Morgan Tsvangirai's party took just 49 seats in election while Zanu-PF won 160, but the MDC claims there was massive rigging and is refusing to accept the results.

MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora says their challenge to the presidential results should be filed by Friday.

The court then has 14 days to make a judgement, leaving just two days between the finding and the swearing in of the president.

Zanu-PF has welcomed the challenge from the MDC, arguing that it's the correct way to challenge the outcome as opposed to taking to the streets

If it goes ahead, it will delay the swearing in of President Robert Mugabe which is due to happen on Monday.

However, the Constitutional Court - which should hear the challenge to the presidential polls - has gone on leave until 2 September and only a skeleton staff is left.

BOTSWANA CALLS FOR AUDIT

Meanwhile, having sent its own monitoring group to observe the polls, Botswana have called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to conduct an independent audit into the elections.

The request from Botswana follows just a day after Namibian president, Hifikepunye Pohamba, and South Africa's President Jacob Zuma endorsed the fairness of the election and congratulated the 89-year-old president.

This is not the first time Gaborone has rejected the validity of a Zimbabwean election; they refuted the elections in 2008 that saw a bloody second round with the eventual withdrawal of Morgan Tsvangirai.

Botswana Foreign Affairs Minister Phandu Skelemani has called on SADC to conduct the independent audit into what he argues was not a free and fair election.

SADC, who are due to meet in Malawi later this month, were present at the elections with a 600-strong observer mission.

They found the election "free and peaceful" but stopped short of calling it fair.

The delegation's election observer chairman, Tanzania's Bernard Membe, had expressed grave concern on the eve of the elections because of the absence of a voter's roll on day before the elections.