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Mnangagwa clinches victory as opposition cries foul

HARARE – Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declared incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa as the winner of the recent presidential election, securing approximately 52.6% of the vote.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, who assumed power following a military coup in 2017 that led to the removal of longtime leader Robert Mugabe, was widely anticipated to secure re-election for a second term due to perceived advantages in the electoral process in favor of the ruling party, ZANU-PF. The party has maintained its grip on power for over four decades.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) reported that Nelson Chamisa, the main contender and leader of the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) party, garnered 44% of the presidential vote.

Supporters of ZANU-PF celebrated at the results center upon hearing the announcement of Mnangagwa’s victory. In contrast, a spokesperson for the CCC expressed rejection of the outcome, asserting that the result lacked proper verification.

The United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) said it was “disappointed with the manner in which the ongoing harmonized elections were conducted. We are highly concerned by several issues regarding the elections administration and the conduct of some of the political parties. These factors have affected the credibility of the polls.”

“On the Presidential ballot, our Presidential candidate Elisabeth Valerio’s picture and our party logo were hardly recognizable. We also noted that while our presidential candidate’s photo and the UZA party logo were smudged, the picture of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the ZANU PF party logo were printed clearly. We also found it to be highly unconventional that the first column on the presidential ballot had less candidates listed than the right column,” UZA said in a statement.

Mnangagwa had previously narrowly defeated Chamisa in the 2018 presidential election. The opposition had alleged electoral manipulation, but the constitutional court upheld the result.

Although the lead-up to the recent election had been relatively devoid of violence, authorities frequently prohibited opposition gatherings and detained opposition supporters under stringent public order laws in Zimbabwe.

ZANU-PF has denied any unfair advantage or attempts to manipulate election outcomes through rigging.

Observers from the European Union and the Southern African regional bloc SADC noted several issues surrounding the election. The EU observer mission head highlighted a “climate of fear,” while the SADC mission flagged concerns such as voting delays, rally bans, and biased state media coverage.

During this week’s presidential and parliamentary elections, the intention was to conclude voting on Wednesday. However, due to the delayed distribution of ballot papers, the process extended into Thursday in certain areas.