Zim constitutional court upholds Mnangagwa election victory

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HARARE, August 24 – Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on Friday afternoon upheld the election of Emmerson Mnangagwa as President in the July 30, elections as announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).

Mnangagwa faced off with 22 other presidential contenders, including Nelson Chamisa of the MDC-Alliance, who was aggrieved by results and filed a petition to challenge the election victory declaration.

The court, led by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, sitting with eight other judges, dismissed Chamisa’s application with costs, at the same time upholding the election results.

“The application is dismissed with costs and Emmerson Mnangagwa is declared the winner of the July 30 presidential elections,” Malaba said.

Zec declared that Mnangagwa, leader of the ruling Zanu PF party, won 50.8 percent of the votes, while Chamisa garnered 44.3 percent.

However, the electoral management body later revised the figure down to 50.67 percent then to 50.6 percent.

Filing the petition, Chamisa’s lawyers, led by Advocate Thabani Mpofu, argued that the elections were not credible, marred with irregularities and should be nullified.

Chamisa wanted, among other orders, the courts to call for another election within 60 days.

Dismissing the application, Malaba said it was generally acceptable the world over that an election could not be set aside because of irregularities.

“The court will only invalidate a presidential election in only special and specific circumstances; where there is fraud or poor administration of the election,” he said.

Chamisa, according to the court, presented no proof of Zec irregularities and ideally should have requested for a recount within 48 hours after announcement of results.

Also, the opening of the ballot boxes would have given the opposition leader a clear picture of what really happened and it was going to bolster his case, Malaba said.

The court also said the electoral body was convincing in its opposing papers and managed to debunk and explain some of the issues that had been raised by the applicant.

Mnangagwa is to be inaugurated within 48 hours of the judgment delivery. Mnangagwa replaced former long-time ruler Robert Mugabe following a military coup in November 2017.

Soon after handing down of judgment, the opposition said it welcomed the court’s decision with a heavy heart.

“For the record, President Nelson Chamisa and his legal team mounted a formidable case on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe; a case of chicanery and electoral pilferage that was vindicated by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s embarrassing revision of its own declared results for a record three times,” MDC-T director of communications Luke Tamborinyoka said in a statement.

“As a party and as an Alliance, we believe in the rule of law and we respect the verdict of the courts; more so the verdict of the people Zimbabwe who overwhelmingly voted for President Nelson Chamisa; for transformation; for opportunities and for prosperity in their beloved country. Our unstinting belief in the rule of law means we shall not only respect the verdict of the bench, but we shall also doggedly pursue all constitutionally permissible avenues to ensure that the sovereign will of the people is protected and guaranteed.”

On the other hand, Mnangagwa posted on microblogging site Twitter that his doors were open for Chamisa.

“I once again reiterate my call for peace and unity above all. Nelson Chamisa, my door is open and my arms are outstretched, we are one nation, and we must put our nation first. Let us all now put our differences behind us. It is time to move forward together,” he wrote.

African News Agency (ANA)