President Robert Mugabe will be sworn-in Thursday following the withdrawal by of the election court challenge by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, paving the way for Mr. Mugabe to begin a fresh five-year mandate.
President Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba told journalists Sunday in Malawi where the president was attending the 33rd Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government that the inauguration will be on Thursday.
However, Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA that Mr. Tsvangirai should first officially withdraw his court challenge personally on Monday to allow the swearing-in to proceed Thursday without incident. He said the constitutional court could officially accept the MDC’s petition withdrawal Monday.
“After Tsvangirai withdraws officially and in person, as is required by the laws of our country, we will after 48 hours be allowed by law to swear-in the president,” said Gumbo.
The MDC had challenged the results that gave electoral victory to President Mugabe and the Zanu PF a parliament majority but withdrew the petition Friday saying the would not be given a fair hearing by a bench largely populated by Mr. Mugabe’s appointees.
But Gumbo says Mr. Tsvangirai’s MDC to withdraw its court challenge demonstrates that the July 31 general election was credible.
Meanwhile Mr. Mugabe received an outstanding ovation in Malawi where he attended the SADC Heads of State and Government summit this weekend.
On Sunday he held a closed door meeting with Botswana President Lt General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who has climbed down from his original position that the July election was not free and fair.
Mr. Khama now says the elections were free and peaceful and reflected the will of the Zimbabwean people.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr. Khama endorsed the elections, adding Botswana stood guided by SADC.