Nelson Chamisa, the head of Zimbabwe’s opposition, contested the legitimacy of the election that had been held the day before and had resulted in Emmerson Mnangagwa’s re-election. He declared victory.
According to the results released late on Saturday by the election commission, Mr. Mnangagwa won a second term with 52.6% of the vote cast, defeating Mr. Chamisa with 44%. The opposition declared right once that these “distorted” findings had not been approved.
“This election was won by us. We are in charge. We have the genuine results,” said Mr. Chamisa, a 45-year-old lawyer and preacher, at a press conference in Harare on Sunday. “We are even startled that Mnangagwa was named the winner (…) We have the true results.”
On Wednesday and Thursday, Zimbabweans went to the polls to elect their president and members of parliament. The major conflict was Mr. Chamisa’s Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC), the strongest opposition group, and Zanu-PF, which has been in power since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.
“We were aware that we would be voting in a tainted election. We have a faulty constituency division and an erroneous electoral roll. Anomalies tainted the ballot. The opponent stated that there was bias in the election environment.
The voting process had been defective, according to Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had earlier in the day spoken from the capital’s presidential palace.
In his previous speech from the presidential palace, Emmerson Mnangagwa urged those opposing his reelection to take their case to court: “Those who feel that the race was not run properly should know where to go.”
Better quality of life
Failures during the election, including as the absence of ballot papers at polling places, were especially prevalent in Harare, a stronghold of the opposition. Voting had been set to end on Wednesday night, but it had to go until Thursday.
The “transparency” of the vote was marred by “serious problems” and violations of “many international standards” governing democratic elections, according to international observers.
Some voters could not be located on the lists, according to monitors from the European Union, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and Commonwealth nations. At the polls, other people experienced intimidation. However, they insisted that a “calm and peaceful” atmosphere prevailed during the voting process.
Mr. Mnangagwa emphasised Zimbabwe’s “independence and sovereignty” and cautioned against criticism.
He emphasised the “enormous turnout in the exercise of this sacred right of voting,” rather than requesting that visitors respect his country’s national institutions. Almost 69% of the total number of registered voters cast ballots.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his worry over the detention of election monitors and claims of voter intimidation in a statement. In order for the outcome of the vote to be “a true reflection of the will of the people,” he urged the parties to “reject all forms of violence” and to resolve disagreements amicably and “transparently.”
The day after the results were released, some individuals in the capital’s streets were reading the newspapers while others were expressing their dismay.
According to Godwell Gonye, who was speaking to AFP, “the results are not good, something is wrong somewhere.”
Another afterwards admitted that he hadn’t even read the results carefully. This man says fatalistically, “We accept them as they are, it’s the decision of the majority and we respect it.
Tinashe Gunda insists, however, that “here we expect change, development, and economic stability.”
In the face of widespread corruption and shortages of fuel, bread, and medicines in a crippled economy that has been going on for around 20 years, the opposition was depending on this optimism for a better life to win the election.
However, the campaign had already been characterised by utter repression in this nation long held with an iron grip by liberation hero Robert Mugabe, who was overthrown in 2017 by a coup d’état.
In a nation that has a long history of tainted elections, the CCC condemned the cancellation of dozens of demonstrations and the imprisonment of opponents.
Mugabe’s successor, Mr. Mnangagwa, won a tight election in 2018 (50.8%). Six people were killed when the army opened fire on protesters two days after the election.
Mr. Chamisa, who was already his rival for the presidency, unsuccessfully appealed the verdict in court.