In a blow to the Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe’s highest court ruled that Emmerson Mnangagwa is the legitimate president-elect of Zimbabwe
The country’s Constitutional Court ruled on Friday, 24 August 2018 in favour of the ZANU-PF party, and declared the poll results as valid. The MDC Alliance, the main opposition, had approached the courts seeking to have the election results set aside, and argued that the ruling party had colluded with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to rig the votes and influence the outcome.
The court dismissed the application with costs.
Earlier this month, Mnangagwa claimed victory in the country’s historic presidential elections, bagging 50.8 percent of the total votes, translating to 2.46 million votes, while the MDC Alliance’s Nelson Chamisa received 2.15 million votes.
Following the outcome of the 30 July 2018 elections, violence broke out in the streets of Harare as opposition supporters demonstrated over the results. Six people died in the disruptions.
In delivering the judgement, the nine judges found that the MDC had little evidence to support their claim of electoral interference. “The best evidence would have been the contents of the ballot boxes themselves”, said Chief Justice Luke Malaba. Malaba further labelled the MDC’s claims of vote rigging as “bold and unsubstantiated.”
Following the ruling, Mnangagwa called for peace and unity and extended an invitation to Chamisa, to pave a way forward.
“I once again reiterate my call for peace and unity above all. Nelson Chamisa, my door is open and my arms are outstretched, we are one nation, and we must put our nation first. Let us all now put our differences behind us. It is time to move forward together”, he said on Twitter.
“We were not surprised by the court’s decision. The election results were firmly in line with all the pre-election polling, and were entirely consistent with the final tally of ZESN, the largest body of independent observers,” Mnangagwa concluded.