Emmerson Mnangagwa has a secured second term as Zimbabwe’s president in a poll marred by electoral malpractice.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) declared Mnangagwa the winner, with 52.6% of the vote, beating Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC), who trailed at 44%.
The election comes six years after longtime ruler Robert Mugabe was removed from power in a military coup.
CCC immediately rejected the results, saying the presidential vote was “rushed”.
“We reject any result hastily assembled without proper verification … we will advise citizens on the next steps as the situation develops. We will not relent on the people’s victory,” CCC spokesperson Promise Mkhwananzi wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Mnangagwa’s chief elections agent Ziyambi Ziyambi said: “We believed that our works are our manifesto. We believe that the people of Zimbabwe voted wisely.”
Mnangagwa won a second term under heavy criticism from the South African Development Committee (SADC) electoral observer mission, led by former Zambian vice-president Nevers Mumba.
“The election fell short of the requirements of the constitution of Zimbabwe, the Electoral Act, and the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections,” read the SADC preliminary report published on Friday.
Other foreign observer missions joined SADC in criticising the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for failing to manage the polls and for the arrest of activists.
“While election day was assessed by the EU EOM (Election Observation Missions) as largely calm, the election process overall was hampered by significant issues regarding the independence and transparency of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The ZEC missed opportunities to increase public trust in the integrity of voting and results management,” the EU electoral observer, Fabio Massimo Castaldo said.
On voting day, thousands of Zimbabweans waited for more than 12 hours in queues as the electoral commission failed to deliver election material on time.
Mnangagwa was forced to extend voting by another day, prompting criticism from observers.
The 80-year-old’s party also won the parliamentary elections with 136 seats, while the CCC garnered 73 seats.
Zanu-PF however failed to secure a two-thirds majority to allow the party to institute constitutional amendments, which observers feared could be used to extend presidential term limits.
After five years in power, Mnangagwa has been criticised for failing to turn around the economy. Unemployment and poverty levels remain high in the country once regarded as the bread basket of southern Africa. Despite claims of a bumper harvest, nearly 3.8 million people will go hungry this year.