Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has challenged the country’s electoral body to release ‘proper and verified results’ of the presidential election, even as South African president Cyril Ramaphosa called on Zimbabweans to accept the poll outcome.
The election, the first since the army removed 94-year-old Robert Mugabe from office in November, passed off relatively smoothly, but a tense wait for presidential results resulted in the death of six people as the army cracked down on rowdy opposition supporters on Wednesday.
After three days of claims and counterclaims, 75-year-old Mnangagwa a former spy chief under Mugabe secured victory.
He polled 2.46 million votes (50.8%) against 2.15 million (44.3%) for 40-year-old opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
In comments referring to the commission, Chamisa said on his Twitter page that “the level of opaqueness, truth deficiency, moral decay & values deficit is baffling.”
‘‘The ZEC scandal of releasing unverified fake results is regrettable”. ZEC denied our election agent access to results before announcement.
The opposition has consistently claimed that it won the presidential election, and will now have to take a decision on whether to challenge the outcome of the election in the courts of law.
Ramaphosa urges Zimbabweans to accept results
Ramaphosa, who is the chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), urged all Zimbabweans to accept the election of Emmerson Mnangagwa as president.
“President Ramaphosa has appealed to all political leaders and the people of Zimbabwe to accept the outcome of the election and should they have challenges, they must follow legal remedies provided for in the constitution and electoral law,” the presidency said in a statement.
The streets of the capital Harare were quiet early on Friday, with traffic thinner than usual.
Water cannon and anti-riot police remained outside the MDC offices, a reminder of the clashes between opposition and the security forces this week.
“We were expecting that these elections will bring change because we are struggling. But as things stand, it will get worse,” a taxi driver said.