Zimbabwe's Chamisa alleges 'gigantic fraud' in Mnangagwa's re-election

Nelson Chamisa

Nelson Chamisa

Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa has alleged “blatant and gigantic fraud” after President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared winner of another troubled election.

The results were announced on Saturday night, two days earlier than expected, after international observers had reported an atmosphere of intimidation against voters.

Chamisa promised to address the country soon as his Citizens Coalition for Change party said it would reject the results as “hastily assembled without proper verification”.

“They stole your voice and vote but never your hope,” Mr Chamisa wrote in a post on Twitter, now rebranded as X, in his first public reaction to the results. “It’s a blatant and gigantic fraud.”

People in the country of 15 million are bound to view the results with suspicion.

International election observers noted problems with the election, held on Wednesday and Thursday, citing an atmosphere of intimidation against Mr Chamisa’s supporters.

In the build-up to the vote, international rights groups reported there had been a crackdown on opposition to Mr Mnangagwa and the long-ruling Zanu-PF party, which had used the police and courts to harass and intimidate opposition officials and supporters, the rights groups said.

The actual election was also problematic and voting was extended into an extra day on Thursday because of a shortage of ballot papers, especially in the capital, Harare, and other urban areas that are opposition strongholds. People slept at polling stations to make sure they were able to vote.

Mr Mnangagwa’s victory meant Zanu-PF retained the governmental leadership it has held for all 43 years of Zimbabwe’s history since the nation was renamed following independence from white minority rule in 1980.

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Mr Mnangagwa, 80, was re-elected for a second and final five-year term with 52.6% of the vote, according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Mr Chamisa, 45, who also lost to Mr Mnangagwa in a very close and disputed election five years ago, won 44% of the vote this time, the commission said. Zanu-PF also kept its parliamentary majority.

The 2023 election results were released at around 1130pm on Saturday at the official results centre in Harare, taking many by surprise.

They came just 48 hours after polls closed in the delayed elections, when election officials had planned to announce the results five days after voting ended.

“We reject any results hastily assembled without proper verification,” said Promise Mkwananzi, a spokesperson for Mr Chamisa’s party, minutes after the results were announced.

“We will advise citizens on the next steps as the situation develops.”

While the outcome is likely to be closely scrutinised, Mr Chamisa’s party did not immediately announce if it would challenge them through the courts.

Mr Chamisa challenged his 2018 election loss to Mr Mnangagwa, but that was rejected by the Constitutional Court.

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