Zimabwe Court Affirms Mnangagwa's Election Victory

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court declares Mnangagwa as duly elected president

Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court confirmed President Emmerson Mnangagwa's disputed July 30 election victory on Friday, dismissing an opposition challenge that had held up his inauguration, which will now be held on Sunday.

Nelson Chamisa spoke a day after the Constitutional Court unanimously rejected the opposition's claims of vote-rigging and said it did not bring "sufficient and credible evidence".

But the vote has once again left the nation polarized after violence flared on the streets of Harare, and Chamisa, who leads the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), mounted his legal challenge.

According to the official results, Mnangagwa won almost 51 percent of the vote to defeat MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, who received just over 44 percent.

If the court endorses President Mnangagwa's victory, he is expected to be inaugurated within 48 hours as postulated under the Electoral Act which has to be by 2pm on Sunday.

The United States has urged all parties in Zimbabwe's electoral dispute to respect the country's constitution and the rule of law.

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Last month's election, the first since Robert Mugabe was removed as President in a November coup, was expected to pull Zimbabwe out of its diplomatic isolation, end global sanctions and prompt an economic recovery.

President Mnangagwa contends that Mr Chamisa's petition is premised on alleged mathematical anomalies, which have no factual basis.

But in a first for the country, the proceedings have been broadcast live on state television.

"There would therefore have been no objective for this court to go further and inquire into the question as to whether such irregularities materially affected the election result", said Malaba who read the abridged judgement on Friday afternoon.

"We are ecstatic that the court has upheld the will of the people", said Paul Mangwana, spokesman for the president. He went on: "It's actually a constitutional right which we have not exercised over the past few days on account of examining and executing the constitutional route".

Chamisa had argued in his application that Mnangagwa colluded with Zec to rig the election through ballot staffing, vote buying and manipulation of the result.

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That figure excludes the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's legal bill.

The 94-year-old Mugabe was forced from office by a military takeover last year after almost 40 years in power, surrendering the presidency to Mnangagwa, his vice president.

After the ruling was delivered, the president called for peace on his Twitter feed.

He further said there was no evidence of how many teachers were registered to vote and if they were, there was no evidence that they would have voted for Chamisa.

Campaigning was more open and peaceful than previous votes under Mugabe.

The elections had been largely peaceful and well-organised before violence broke out during a demonstration by supporters of MDC Alliance, alleging malpractices and leading to the killing of three people by security forces.

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