On Friday, Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court ruled against a case to invalidate the results of the presidential election that occurred earlier this month. Zimbabwe’s top opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDF) brought up the case this week.
Claims of election fraud were based on numerous polling stations producing identical vote counts. The electoral commission also modified outcomes of the election three separate times, leading to the suspicion of opposition supporters.
This presidential election was the first since Robert Mugabe was overthrown last year. Mugabe ruled over Zimbabwe for 37 years, leading a regime characterized by a lack of transparency and widespread violence. In the decades that he ruled, the police were known to harass citizens and take bribes in order to hinder the voices of the people.
Official election results show Emmerson Mnangagwa won 50.8 percent of the vote, whereas Nelson Chamisa acquired only 44.3 percent. Mnangagwa, representing the Zimbabwe African national Union-Patriotic Front narrowly dodged a runoff against the competing MDF Alliance. Chamisa supporters were wary of the results considering Mnangagwa beat the runoff by such a slim margin. Additionally, the opposition believed Mnangagwa was favored by the commission because he was a former deputy to Mugabe.
According to the Chief Justice hearing the claim, Luke Malaba, the allegations were widely false and didn’t accurately represent the actions of the Electoral Commission. The court’s nine judges unanimously proclaimed Mnangagwa as the rightful winner of the election.
During the election, the race was universally illustrated as free, fair, and peaceful. Shortly following the election disputes broke out between supporters of the MDF Alliance and the police. Members of the MDF Alliance do not plan to cooperate with the decision. Chamisa urges his supporters to protest the decision, and he believes he still has a legitimate claim to the presidency.
Mnangagwa’s inauguration is planned to take place on Sunday.