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Zimbabwe court dismisses allegations of unfair elections

The constitutional court of Zimbabwe ruled Tuesday that July's presidential elections [JURIST news archive] were fair, effectively allowing President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile] to continue his 33-year rule. This ruling is controversial because the complaint by presidential hopeful Morgan Tsvangirai [BBC profile] of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was withdrawn [JURIST report] last week, citing corruption of the judicial process. However, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku reportedly defended [Zimbabwe Election report] continuing the proceedings based on Section 93 of the new Zimbabwe Constitution [text], which does not provide for an election challenge to be withdrawn before the conclusion of the hearing. The inauguration proceedings [press release] are expected to take place as scheduled, although opposing parties have publicly stated that they will boycott them.

Mugabe has recently faced scrutiny by several groups besides the MDC. Earlier in August prosecutors from the US Attorneys Office for the Northern District of Illinois unsealed [JURIST report] a criminal complaint against two men for illegally lobbying US lawmakers on behalf of Mugabe. In February three UN independent human rights experts urged [JURIST report] the government of Zimbabwe to respect international human rights including privacy and freedom of association, in light of growing hostility toward civil society organizations. Last January Human Rights Watch issued [JURIST report] a report stating that Zimbabwe must reform its current legislative and electoral environment.

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