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Court Dismisses Tsvangirai Election Petition, Declares Polls Free

The Constitutional Court on Tuesday afternoon dismissed with costs Morgan Tsvangirai's petition challenging President Robert Mugabe's re-election, even though he had withdrawn the challenge.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku ruled that Mr. Mugabe’s election for a seventh term of office was free, fair and credible.

Justice Chidyausiku said the poll outcome reflected the true will of the people of Zimbabwe although the MDC-T and the international community maintain the elections were fundamentally flawed.

The chief justice said the 9-member bench will deliver its full judgment on a date yet to be advised.

President Mugabe's attorney, Terrence Hussein, welcomed the court's decision.

But MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora said his party is not happy with the manner in which this case was handled by the courts.

Mwonzora said the outcome of the court case was predetermined because the president had already announced the date of his inauguration before the Constitutional Court made its findings known.

However, Hussein said the state was expected to make preparations for the inauguration of the president-elect regardless of the court challenge.

Justice Chidyausiku, who said the decision of the Constitutional Court bench was unanimous, ordered Mr. Tsvangirai to pay the costs of the lawsuit.

Heavily armed anti-riot police milled around the court as the bench delivered its ruling.

At the same time, the Electoral Court has ordered the arrest of the MDC-T leader’s lawyers for statements allegedly made by Tsvangirai attacking the judiciary.