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Tsvangirai Presidential Election Challenge Quashed by Zimbabwe Supreme Court

Zimbabwe's Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively ended Movement for Democratic Change President Morgan Tsvangirai’s quest for judicial nullification of the 2002 presidential election won by President Robert Mugabe amid allegations of fraud.

The supreme court decision focused on a technical constitutional aspect of the case. Tsvangirai was seeking redress of what his lawyers alleged was undue delay by the country’s high (or lower) court in rendering a decision on his initial challenge of the election. The supreme court ruled that Tsvangirai’s claim was without merit.

Another action lodged by Tsvangirai with the high court, requesting a recount of the physical election ballots, has yet to be ruled on – but in view of the outcome in the supreme court it was unclear whether Tsvangirai would pursue the issue.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked Tsvangirai spokesman William Bango for comment on the ruling, and spoke with International Bar Association media advisor for Southern Africa, Gugulethu Moyo, about the case.

Zimbabwe’s next presidential election is to be held in 2008 – though the ruling ZANU-PF party has mooted the idea of putting off the election to 2010 so that it can be held concurrently with legislative elections, effectively extending Mr. Mugabe’s term.

Tsvangirai’s party, deeply split over whether to take part in the November 2005 senate elections and expected by many to break into two separate parties, also charged that the March 2005 parliamentary elections were marred by intimidation and fraud.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...