Robert Mugabe declared winner of disputed Zimbabwe election


Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe speaks during a rally marking his 88th birthday in Mutare on February 25, 2012 with a trademark attack on gays and foreigners at a rally of his supporters.


Jekesai Njikizana

Robert Mugabe has won a seventh term as Zimbabwe's president amid claims of electoral fraud.

Mugabe, the 89-year-old leader of the Zanu-PF party, won 61 percent of the vote compared to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's 34 percent, the Zimbabwe Election Commission said Saturday.

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The two men have been sharing power since 2009, following disputed election results.

Saturday's results were announced moments after Tsvangirai denounced the vote, claiming it had been rigged.

He vowed to challenge the results in court, but urged a peaceful response among Zimbabweans.

At a news conference Saturday, Tsvangirai said his Movement for Democratic Change party would not "participate in any government institutions" to protest what he called voting fraud. 

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The UK government voiced "grave concerns" about alleged irregularities in the vote, despite a broad approval by African election observers.

For Mugabe, it was just another election, ending in a landslide victory amid cries of foul play among his rivals.

He had vowed to step down earlier in the week upon defeat, but seemed confident he would be returned to office to add another five-year term to his 33-year rule.

Tsvangirai's party accused Zanu-PF of adding thousands of invalid names to the electoral roll, which was released just a day before voting began.

The MDC had advised its supporters to use their own pens to fill out voting slips.