Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared winner of the Aug. 23 presidential election on Saturday night after a much-criticized electoral process by international observers.
The main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change led by Nelson Chamisa, who trailed Mnangagwa in the presidential vote, has raised concerns over alleged manipulation of the outcome. Insiders from the CCC said the Zimbabwean opposition party, which said its own tally of the voting results showed Chamisa leading, will contest the outcome of the presidential election result.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has declared Mnangagwa, 80, as president-elect, giving him a mandate to form the next government amid a tense environment in the capital, Harare. ZEC said the incumbent who deposed former leader, the late Robert Mugabe in 2017, polled 52% of the vote ahead of Chamisa’s 44%. In terms of numbers, Mnangagwa amassed 2.3 million against Chamisa’s 1.9 million votes, ZEC announced.
“We reject any result hastily assembled without proper verification not lectureship. We will advise citizens on the next steps,” said Prosper Mkwananzi, spokesperson for the CCC Saturday night.
International groups also raised worries over alleged intimidation of voters by a non-governmental organization aligned to Mnangagwa’s party, the Forever Associates of Zimbabwe (FAZ).
Observers for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said some aspects of the election “fell short” of Zimbabwe’s own constitution and electoral rules. The African Union also expressed similar concerns about voters being turned away at 30% of stations it visited as well as the arrest and detention of civil society observers.
The United States Embassy in Harare as well as the observer mission from the European Union also said they were concerned about the observed problems with the transparency, independence, fairness, and credibility of the electoral processes.
“Curtailed rights and lack of level playing field led to an environment that was not always conducive to voters making a free and informed choice in Zimbabwe’s 2023 Harmonised Elections”, the EU’s chief observer, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, said.