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REPORT: Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean 2002 elections 'neither free nor fair' says South African report

Morgan Tsvangirai addresses members of his opposition Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) party in Harare, 31 October 2014.
Morgan Tsvangirai addresses members of his opposition Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) party in Harare, 31 October 2014. Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

For over a decade, Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been trying to defeat President Robert Mugabe at the polls. Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe of repeatedly denying him victory through vote-rigging and violence. Now the Zimbabwean opposition MDC leader has welcomed the release of a report by two South African judges condemning one of the disputed presidential polls.

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MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai says if the report had been made public in 2002, Zimbabwe would have been spared the crises it went through in subsequent years.

The report, known as the Khampepe Report, was written by two South African judges who observed Zimbabwe's presidential poll 12 years ago, when Tsvangirai lost to President Robert Mugabe.

The judges said the election could not have been free and fair because of the violence that preceded it.

But the South African government, then headed by Thabo Mbeki, kept the report secret and went on to endorse Mugabe's victory.

It was only made public in South Africa last week after a five-year legal battle waged by South Africa’s Mail and Guardian newspaper, owned by Zimbabwean publisher Trevor Ncube.

Tsvangirai said on Wednesday he was deeply appalled by the report AND deplored South Africa's decision to sweep it under the carpet.

More than a decade later, Zimbabwe is once again plunged into uncertainty and a degree of fear - as succession battles rage - on within Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.

Grace Mugabe, the president's wife is waging a campaign to get Joice Mujuru, the vice president, sacked.

This week the First Lady intensified her bitter attacks on the woman she says has made life unbearable for the First Family - claiming she has a videotape of her in a compromising stance.

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