Zimbabwe’s leader Robert Mugabe has told critics of his re-election they can “go hang” if they try to challenge his disputed presidential victory.
In his first speech since retaining his post, the 89-year-old made clear he would brook no questioning of his overwhelming win last month and dismissed his defeated rivals as “pathetic puppets”.
“We’re delivering democracy on a platter, on a platter. Do you take it? We say take it or leave it,” Mugabe told a rally in Harare to mark Heroes Day, an annual celebration of those who fought to liberate the country from white minority rule, leading to its independence in 1980.
The result extends by five years the 33-year rule of Mugabe who is Africa’s oldest leader. Supporters of his ZANU-PF party at the rally erupted into cheers when Mugabe also poured scorn on his Western critics who are considering tougher sanctions.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Mugabe’s rival Morgan Tsvangirai filed a court challenge on Friday, alleging widespread vote rigging and intimidation of electors by ZANU-PF.
Zimbabwe’s constitution says the country’s top court must rule within 14 days, but insiders say the appeal is unlikely to be successful as Mugabe’s party dominates the judiciary and state institutions.