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Thursday, 7 March, 2002, 16:17 GMT
Election reaction
President Mugabe's opponents believe he has used means fair or foul to ensure his re-election. Draconian election laws make it illegal to criticise him and international monitors are outlawed. BBC News Online looks at the events which have taken before, during and since the election.

20 March 2002

Morgan Tsvanigirai
Morgan Tsvanigirai outside the court in Harare
The defeated candidate in the presidential election, Morgan Tsvanigirai, is accused of plotting to assassinate President Mugabe and charged with treason. The Zimbabwe opposition condemns the charges as "a very childish response" by President Mugabe to Commonwealth suspension.

 The BBC's Rageh Omaar reports

19 March 2002

John Howard
Australian PM John Howard announces the suspension

The Commonwealth takes an unexpectedly tough line over the violence and electoral fraud by suspending Zimbabwe from the organisation for at least a year. It is among the most serious measures the Commonwealth can take against one of its 54 member countries.

 The BBC's Gavin Hewitt reports

18 March 2002

Robert Mugabe and Thabo Mbeki
President Mugabe greets Thabo Mbeki on his arrival in Harare.

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and his Nigerian counterpart, Olusegun Obasanjo visit Zimbabwe for talks with President Robert Mugabe and with the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. Both visiting Presidents travelled on to London for talks with Australian Prime Minister, John Howard to decide on the Commonwealth's response to Mr Mugabe's victory.

 The BBC's Kirsty Lang reports

17 March 2002

President Mugabe
Robert Mugabe at the swearing in ceremony

President Mugabe is sworn-in for another six-year term, promising to speed up a controversial, and sometimes violent, land reform programme. The ceremony was boycotted by European diplomats, and leaders of Nigeria and South Africa. The Commonwealth will decide next week whether to suspend Zimbabwe.

 The BBC's Rageh Omaar reports

14 March 2002

Police patrolling the streets
Tension remains high on the streets of Harare

Zimbabwe's presidential election is strongly condemned by a team of observers from the Commonwealth. They say the re-election of Robert Mugabe was neither free nor fair. Mr Mugabe's victory has already been strongly criticised by the US and Britain.

 The BBC's Gavin Hewitt reports

13 March 2002

A triumphant Robert Mugabe
A triumphant Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe wins a fifth term in office amid accusations of ballot irregularities and ruling party violence. He defeated rival Morgan Tsvangirai by a substantial margin in a presidential election described by foreign and local observers as deeply flawed and unjust.

 The BBC's Andrew Harding reports

11 March 2002

Voters waited again to make their choice
Authorities block a polling station

Robert Mugabe's government orders all polling stations in Zimbabwe to close, despite claims that half the population has been unable to vote in the elections. The country's High Court rejected the opposition's appeal to extend voting for another day, and riot police used tear gas to disperse crowds at some polling stations.

 The BBC's Gavin Hewitt reports

10 March 2002

Morgan Tsvangirai
Tsvangirai believes many of his supporters were prevented from voting

Zimbabwe's opposition party wins its legal battle to extend the voting. A High Court judge ordered polling stations to stay open for a further 24 hours in some urban areas, after seeing the backlog of voters for himself. But State Broadcasters say the polling is over.

 The BBC's Rageh Omaar reports

9 March 2002

Queues of people lined up to vote
Queues of people lined up to vote

As polling booths open long queues of voters form in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, and in the country's second city, Bulawayo, for the most fiercely contested presidential election since independence in 1980.

 The BBC's Hilary Andersson reports

6 March 2002

Government officials demonstrate a sample polling station
The government claims the elections will be fair

With just a few days to go until voting in Zimbabwe's Presidential election, observers say they are concerned that the government has not yet finalised details of the poll. There is also concern over reports that members of the security forces are being ordered to cast postal ballots in favour of President Mugabe.

 The BBC's Grant Ferrett reports

25 February 2002

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai issued a flat denial

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is charged with treason after a video purporting to show him plotting a coup against Robert Mugabe is released. If guilty he could be sentenced to death.

 The BBC's Andrew Bomford reports

15 February 2002

Journalist Basildon Peta
Basildon Peta has been the target of death threats

Zimbabwean journalist Basildon Peta fled to South Africa after attacks on him in the state-controlled media. Ten days earlier he was forced to spend the night in jail for allegedly breaching strict new security laws.

 The BBC's Hilary Andersson reports

 Basildon Peta spoke to the BBC.

14 January 2002

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
Mr Mugabe was given some frank advice
President Mugabe says he is happy at the outcome of a meeting of fellow African leaders where it was expected that he would be fiercely criticised. Zimbabwe's worsening political and economic situation dominated the one day conference in Malawi, but President Mugabe has now promised to ensure that his country's elections in March are fair.

 The BBC's Hillary Andersson reports from Blantyre, Malawi's capital

11 January 2002

Head of Zimbabwe's defence forces General Vitalis Zvinavashe
The security forces are backing Mugabe
President Mugabe calls elections in early March and introduces election laws designed to make sure he wins them. Criticism of his leadership is banned and the police are given new powers to suppress dissent. The army also comes out with a strong statement supporting the President.

 The BBC's Alastair Leithead reports

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