22 August 2018

Zimbabwe: High Court Hears Opposition Challenge to Presidential Election

Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court opened hearings Wednesday on the opposition's challenge to the results of last month's presidential election.

The Movement for Democratic Change has accused Zimbabwe's election commission of rigging the July 30th vote in favor of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ruling ZANU-PF party. According to the official results, Mnangagwa won nearly 51 percent of the vote to defeat MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, who received just over 44 percent.

The MDC says the commission inflated President Mnangagwa's vote totals, and says that more ballots were tallied at some polling stations than there were registered voters.

Chamisa told reporters on Monday that the MDC has a solid case that election results were fraudulent, and was confident the court would order a new election.

When Chamisa's supporters took to the streets the day after the election commission declared Mnangagwa the winner to protest the results, police responded by using tear gas and live fire, killing six people.

The July 30 presidential poll was the first ever in which President Robert Mugabe's name was not on the ballot. The 94-year-old Mugabe was forced from office by a military takeover last year after nearly 40 years in power, surrendering the presidency to Mnangagwa, his vice president.

The opposition's challenge forced Mnangagwa's planned inauguration on August 12 to be postponed.

If the court upholds the incumbent president's win, his inauguration would take place within 48 hours.

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