A DEFIANT ROBERT Mugabe has told those upset by his disputed landslide election win to “go hang,” and said his victory would never be overturned.
The 89-year-old vowed never to let go of his victory, after his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai lodged a petition in court challenging the election outcome.
“Those who were hurt by defeat can go hang if they so wish,” Mugabe told thousands at a rally to honour heroes of the country’s liberation wars.
“If they die, even dogs will not sniff at their corpses,” he said, in a first public address after the 31 July vote, adding:
Never will we go back on our victory.
Mugabe was declared the winner with 61 per cent of the ballots, against Tsvangirai’s 34 per cent.
He insisted that the Zimbabwean people’s choice in government was clear.
“We are delivering democracy on a platter. We say take it or leave it, but the people have delivered democracy,” he said.
Tsvangirai meanwhile vowed to expose “glaring evidence of the stolen vote” through a court bid.
(TSVANGIRAYI MUKWAZHI/AP/Press Association Images)
His lawyers on Friday filed a petition at the Constitutional Court challenging the poll, which extended Mugabe’s 33-year rule by another five years.
“All I can see is a nation in mourning over the audacity of so few to steal from so many,” Tsvangirai said in a statement.
But “the thief left so much evidence at the scene of crime as we shall expose in the people’s petition that we filed last week.”
The elections ended a shaky power-sharing government formed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai to avoid a tip into conflict in the aftermath of a bloody run-off election in 2008.
Mugabe labelled Tsvangirai a “thief”, claiming that the opposition leader did not deserve to share power with him after the violent 2008 presidential run-off.
“They are now looking for excuses claiming they were robbed,” Mugabe said. “How can a robber claim he was robbed?”
“We found we were dining with and sharing our bed with thieves. We will never give thieves the power to rule.”
Thousands of ZANU-PF supporters dressed in party T-shirts and caps emblazoned with Mugabe’s portrait waved their fists in the air, singing praise for the veteran ruler as some carried placards calling for Tsvangirai to accept defeat.
“Learn to lose with dignity,” read one, while another read “There is honour in conceding defeat.”
Other placards denounced the West saying: “July 31. The Day we Buried Imperialists” and “Obama, Zimbabwe will never be another Chile.”
Mugabe repeated his old rhetoric that Zimbabwe will never be a colony of Britain and her allies pledging to review salaries of government workers.
“We have promised to address the issue of salaries and condition of living. We pledge to fulfil this promise this year,” Mugabe said.
“The emphatic vote that was recently reposed in the ruling revolutionary party ZANU-PF assures us that Zimbabwe shall never be a colony again. Never, never, ever.”
Tsvangirai’s defeat has relegated his Movement for Democratic Change back to the opposition benches.
Local observers have called the polls flawed and Western powers have raised serious doubts over the vote.
However, regional organisations the African Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC) were less critical.