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June 24, 2017

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Mugabe stretches patience to the very limit

HARARE -- On the 28th anniversary of throwing off colonial rule, we still cannot throw off one-man rule as President Robert Mugabe's clings to power after two million Zimbabweans showed him the red card.

Among other accusations, Mugabe is questioning the credibility of the Zimbabwe Election Committee (ZEC), staffed by his men, and its ability to count votes.

These are the characters who have taken eight days to pronounce Parliamentary and Senatorial results and have yet to tell us who won the ticket to the presidency, Morgan Tsvangirai or Robert Mugabe.

Of course, Mugabe has no problem accepting that 97 of his Parliamentary and 30 of his Senatorial candidates won fairly. In fact, his ZANUpf party was delighted when SADC and other African election monitors praised him for conducting a "free and fair" election.

Now, faced with the prospect of relinquishing the presidency to Tsvangirai, he has resolved to fight him in a presidential run-off, even though we still do not know how many votes each candidate received. We can assume Mugabe has had a preview of the outcome and now needs to subvert the will of the people: ZANUpf is now asking for a recount of the presidential ballots amid fears they have been tampered with.

The results were compiled at polling stations and signed for by all contesting parties on official government stationery and transported to ZEC headquarters. How on earth can Mugabe claim his votes were miscounted in such an elaborate free and fair system?

Meanwhile, Mugabe still plays president by changing monetary and tax regulations, arresting foreign journalists and getting the so-called war veterans to threaten more violence against the few remaining white farmers.

On the other side, the restive Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has taken his case to the High Court in order to compel the ZEC to release presidential results. Tsvangirai is a slow learner. Since 2000, all election results have been manipulated and the MDC has challenged them in the courts but we have yet to see any ruling.

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