Zimbabwe’s electoral body announced on Saturday that Emmerson Mnangagwa, the incumbent, secured victory in the recent presidential election with around 53% of the vote. However, both the opposition and analysts immediately expressed doubt about the outcome. Mnangagwa, who assumed power following a 2017 military intervention, was widely expected to win a second term due to the favorable conditions for the ruling ZANU-PF party, which has dominated politics for over 40 years.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) reported that Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) party, received 44% of the presidential vote. While ZANU-PF supporters celebrated Mnangagwa’s victory, the CCC spokesperson criticized the result for lacking proper verification.
This isn’t the first time Mnangagwa has faced Chamisa in an election. In the 2018 presidential election, Mnangagwa narrowly defeated Chamisa, who alleged election rigging. The constitutional court upheld the result, despite the opposition’s claims.
Although the lead-up to this election saw less violence, the police used strict public order laws to ban opposition rallies and detain opposition supporters. ZANU-PF denies any unfair advantage or attempts to manipulate elections through rigging.
Observers from the European Union and the Southern African regional bloc SADC noted concerns about the election. The EU observer mission described a “climate of fear,” and SADC pointed out issues such as voting delays, rally bans, and biased state media coverage.
Nicole Beardsworth, a politics lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand, suggested that the timing of Saturday’s announcement might have been influenced by criticism from SADC and other observers. Beardsworth raised questions about the swift declaration of presidential results.
Although the presidential and parliamentary elections were initially meant to conclude on Wednesday, voting spilled into Thursday in some areas due to delayed ballot paper distribution.