The leading opposition candidate called the election a stolen victory while international observers characterized the election as unfair.
According to Zimbabwe’s Registrar General Tobiawa Mudede, Mugabe won his fifth term by a margin of 1,685,212 votes, against 1,258,401 for challenger Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said that the results were not accurate, and that he and his organization would not accept them.
“The election results… do not reflect the true will of the people of Zimbabwe and are consequently illegitimate,” the former trade unionist said.
International observers say the elections have been flawed by violence, intimidation and confused voter lists. The arrest of 1,400 observers and polling agents during balloting complicated matters further.
Independent observers and human rights groups say tens of thousands of people were prevented from voting, particularly in the capital, Harare, which is a opposition stronghold.
There is fear that the results will prompt a violent backlash, although Tsvangirai said that the MDC will not seek retribution because he believes that is the reaction Mugabe wants.
In preparation for potential backlash, security forces have set up roadblocks around Harare, and have been placed on high alert.
In Washington, Secretary of State Colin Powell accused Mugabe of subverting democratic principles and processes. He said that the U.S. is consulting with other countries to decide on new sanctions against Zimbabwe.
“Mr. Mugabe can claim victory, but not democratic legitimacy,” Powell said. “This fundamentally flawed election will only deepen the crisis in Zimbabwe and the suffering of the Zimbabwean people.”
Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis threatens to destabilize the entire southern African region. Following the announcement of the election results, South Africa’s currency immediately fell.