When the result eventually came out, it showed that he had been forced humiliatingly into second place, managing to get only 43% of the vote compared with Mr Tsvangirai's 50%.
The MDC maintained that Mr Tsvangirai had in fact received more votes than that, and had won the election outright.
This humiliation explains a great deal of what has followed.
It was then that the campaign of savage intimidation began.
Thousands of people who had supported or voted for Mr Tsvangirai were forced out of their homes, and hundreds were beaten or burned. Many were killed.
Ever since, Zanu-PF gangs have gone through rural villages and towns and cities alike, threatening and attacking MDC supporters.
Their aim, they say, is to ensure that Mr Mugabe is re-elected with 100% of the vote.
Any such overwhelming result would be regarded with a certain derision in the outside world.
In spite of the efforts to stop international news organisations coming here to report, the degree of violence and intimidation is familiar news around the world.
Yet Mr Mugabe will not care.
Sources inside the Zanu-PF leadership say that after the initial shock of the March election, he wanted to step down but was prevented by leading figures around him who had blood on their hands, especially from the massacres in Matabeleland in the 1980s.
Nowadays, he boasts of Zimbabwe's isolation in the world, and maintains that it is a sign of the country's true independence.
As a result, the economy here is now in free-fall.
When I arrived in Harare on Monday, the Zimbabwean dollar had fallen to 9 billion to the US dollar. On Tuesday it was 12 billion, and on Wednesday 15 billion.
Inflation is said to be 165,000%.
One member of my team bought some apples at a supermarket. In between taking them off the shelves and walking over to the check-out desk, he was told apologetically that the price had doubled.
Robert Mugabe blames all this on the western world and its sanctions.
Some people clearly believe him.
Others feel their country is collapsing because of his disastrous management of its affairs.
As a result of today's vote Mr Mugabe's rule will continue.
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