Sat, Aug 04, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Mnangagwa wins Zimbabwe election

RIGGED?The MDC announced that it would reject the outcome and pursue legal action, saying that ZANU-PF had manipulated the poll to ‘bastardize the result’


Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa narrowly won the country’s landmark election, results showed early yesterday, in an outcome set to fuel fraud allegations as security forces patrolled the streets to prevent protests.

Mnangagwa won 50.8 percent of the vote, ahead of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate Nelson Chamisa on 44.3 percent, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said.

“Mnangagwa, Emmerson Dambudzo, of ZANU-PF [Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front] party is therefore duly declared elected president of the Republic of Zimbabwe,” commission Chairwoman Priscilla Chigumba said.

Mnangagwa won by the smallest of margins, after needing more than 50 percent of the vote to secure victory without a second-round run-off.

He quickly took to Twitter to say he was “humbled” to have won the election, hailing it as a “new beginning” for the country.

“Though we may have been divided at the polls, we are united in our dreams. This is a new beginning,” Mnangagwa said.

Since its independence from Britain in 1980, Zimbabwe has known only two presidents — Robert Mugabe, who ruled with an iron fist for 37 years, and his erstwhile right-hand man Mnangagwa, who was appointed after Mugabe was forced out by the military in November last year.

Zimbabwe was braced for public reaction to the election results — the first since the ousting of Mugabe — after a deadly crackdown on protesters.

Six people were killed on Wednesday when troops fired live rounds against MDC demonstrators alleging the vote had been rigged.

Moments before the official announcement, MDC spokesman Morgan Komichi denounced the vote count as “fake” as he took to the stage at the commission’s results center before being removed by police.

After Mnangagwa was declared the winner, Komichi told reporters that his party rejected the outcome.

“We will take this to the courts,” he said.

Police and soldiers were on the streets of Harare overnight, but there were no reported protests and few public celebrations when the results were announced after midnight.

Turnout was high at more than 80 percent in most of the country’s 10 provinces.

“What they have been trying to do of late is to play around,” Chamisa told reporters hours before the final results. “That is rigging, that is manipulation, trying to bastardize the result, and that we will not allow.”

On Thursday, the army had guarded ZANU-PF headquarters, while armored personnel carriers, water cannon trucks and police anti-riot vans took up positions outside MDC headquarters.

Election observers from the Commonwealth of Nations issued a statement after Wednesday’s clashes to “denounce the excessive use of force against unarmed civilians.”

“It means our suffering will continue,” said Emion Chitsate, a security guard at a shopping center in Harare. “It’s the same ZANU-PF which brought us to where we are.”

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