London - Britain said the result of the Zimbabwe election
was not credible without an independent investigation of alleged vote-rigging,
as Robert Mugabe prepared to be sworn in for another term as president on
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai launched the legal
challenge, alleging up to a million eligible voters were excluded and demanding
that electoral rolls be released.
He condemned the election as "a farce", but in a
surprise U-turn last week, Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) withdrew the petition, saying he would not get a fair hearing.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "I am
extremely concerned that the MDC-T had to withdraw its legal challenge due to
concerns over the independence of the judiciary.
"I strongly believe that an independent investigation
of any allegations of election irregularities would be required for the
election result to be deemed credible."
Hague reiterated that he had "grave concerns" over
the conduct of the election and the "flaws" highlighted in the
initial assessments of the the South African Development Community (SADC) and
African Union (AU) observation missions.
"There is strong evidence that these elections fell
short of SADC's own guidelines and the Zimbabwean electoral law," he said
in a statement.
"We are concerned about the potential implications for
Mugabe, 89, will usher in a new five-year term in a 60 000-capacity
stadium in a ceremony to which around 40 leaders have been invited.