Zimbabwe’s opposition has rejected President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s narrow presidential election victory after a poll marred by deadly violence and allegations of vote rigging.
On Thursday night, Mnangagwa was declared a winner of the election, the country’s first since the toppling of veteran leader Robert Mugabe, with a slim lead over Nelson Chamisa, head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mnangagwa, who took over the ruling Zanu PF party from Mugabe last year and was appointed President, won 50.8% of the vote, the election commission said, just enough to avoid a runoff. Chamisa received 44%. Chamisa, however, accused the electoral commission of “releasing unverified fake results.
” There was further controversy Friday when Zimbabwean police stormed the Harare hotel where Chamisa was set to give a press conference. Earlier Friday, European Union election observers called for the results to be fully explained to the public. After clashes between security forces and protesters on Wednesday left six people dead, a sense of calm returned to the capital, Harare, on Friday. Shops were open and members of the public went about their daily lives as normal. Police remained on the streets, a brief reminder of the chaos that had ensued over the past week.
Zimbabwe is anxious to ensure the elections are considered free and fair in order to lure back foreign investment and resuscitate the country’s ailing economy. Partial results of the parliamentary vote, announced Wednesday, gave Zanu PF two-thirds of the seats in the National Assembly’s lower house, prompting opposition supporters to take to the streets of the capital Harare in protest against allegedly fraudulent results. Six people were killed in clashes between protesters and security forces, eliciting statements of concern from the United States, the United Nations, and the United Kingdom.