WASHINGTON DC —
Britain says it is gravely concerned about the conduct of the Zimbabwe general election which was resoundingly won by President Robert Mugabe.
In a statement, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said irregularities in the lead up to the elections and on election day, reported by the observer missions and in contravention of the Southern African Development Community's guidelines, call into serious question the credibility of the election.
Mr. Hague’s statement comes at a time opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai insists that his party won Wednesday’s election which he has called a big farce.
Mr. Tsvangirai has appealed for SADC intervention.
The statement is the strongest Western criticism of the election so far.
The European Union earlier stated it was concerned about the alleged irregularities and lack of transparency in the poll.
But the Southern African Development Community, African Union and other election observers have declared the election free and fair.
Voters waiting to vote outside a polling station in Harare
Meanwhile, a top member of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has resigned, citing irregularities in the conduction of the country’s just-ended general election.
ZEC commissioner and human rights lawyer Mkhululi Nyathi is believed to have tendered his resignation in protest over the manner in which the electoral body conducted the harmonized elections.
In a letter to President Robert Mugabe, Mr. Nyathi said he did not want to outline most of the reasons for his resignation but noted that they all have to do with the manner the elections were proclaimed and conducted.
“I do not wish to enumerate the many reasons for my resignation, but they all have to do with the manner (in which) the ... elections were proclaimed and conducted,” Mr.
Nyathi wrote in a letter which he also sent to Mr. Tsvangirai and other stakeholders.
He said though Zimbabweans had conducted themselves with dignity and calm throughout the whole electoral process, these were not the only benchmarks for free, fair and legitimate elections.
“Throughout the whole process I retained some measure of hope that the integrity of the whole process could be salvaged along the way. This was not to be, hence my considered decision to resign.”
Mr. Nyathi’s mobile phone was not reachable for comment. We were also not able to get a comment from ZEC.