Rejecting a Movement for Democratic Change application to
force the country's electoral commission to release the vote tally, Judge
Tendai Uchena said: "I dismiss the case with costs," Reuters
Uchena did not explain his judgment, but said the court
would make it available by Tuesday.
The MDC says its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, defeated
President Robert Mugabe in the March 29 vote, ending his 28-year rule.
a very sad day in Zimbabwe,"
MDC lawyer Andrew Makoni told The Associated Press. "(The court) has given
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission a blank check. We don't know when the ZEC
will be ready with results. We don't know what specific time would be
reasonable in the eyes of the court."
Government spokesman Bright Matonga said he could not
comment until he read the ruling.
The opposition went to the High Court after a long delay in
issuing the result by the ZEC. But in doing so, the party placed its faith in
judges loyal to Mugabe.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Reuters: "Naturally
we are very disappointed because I think we have a very strong case. We are
going to decide the way forward after meeting our lawyers, but in our view the
release of those results is very, very urgent."
MDC lawyers said they would decide whether to appeal after
studying the High Court judgment. The opposition has called an indefinite
general strike Tuesday to protest the delay.
Tsvangirai was in South Africa on Monday meeting prominent
officials, his spokesman Nqobizitha Mlilo told the AP. Mlilo refused to name
the officials. South African President Thabo Mbeki has been tasked with helping
find a solution to the crisis.
At a weekend summit in Lusaka,
southern African leaders said the election results should be released
Mugabe's Zimbabwe Africa National Union - Patriotic Front party
says neither Tsvangirai nor Mugabe won the necessary absolute majority in the
presidential vote and a run-off will be necessary.
The delays have stoked tension in the southern African
nation and brought a chorus of Western condemnation.
economy is in ruins, with the world's worst rate of hyper-inflation, but the
judgment appeared to delay even further the time when the population will find
out whether Mugabe's rule is over. A quarter of Zimbabwe's population has fled to
escape inflation of more than 100,000 percent, chronic shortages of food and
fuel and 80 percent unemployment.
MDC says Mugabe is holding back the presidential result to
allow him time to prepare a violent response to his biggest electoral setback,
when the ruling ZANU-PF party lost control of parliament in a parallel vote on
MDC and international human rights organizations say Mugabe has unleashed
militias in violent campaign to intimidate opposition supporters before a
runoff vote. The MDC says hundreds of villagers have been forced out of their
homes by militia attacks and at least 50 needed medical treatment.
Further delays in releasing election results are expected
because of legal maneuvers and a recount of 23 constituencies ordered by the
ZEC for next Saturday. The MDC is also challenging that decision in court.