Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court will hear on Wednesday the presidential election results challenge filed by opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa and his Movement for Democratic Change Alliance party.
The hearing moves forward in a nation on edge, following the initial July 30 election that gave Zanu PF President Emmerson Mnangagwa the slimmest of victories with 50.8 percent of the vote – just enough to avoid a runoff election in a contest marred by alleged polling irregularities.
As opposition supporters cried foul, Zimbabwe security forces met street protesters with live fire, leaving at least six dead. Zimbabweans including MDC party leader and human rights advocate Tendai Biti were arrested, leading to international outcry and concern over the credibility of the election.
The MDC, in its August 10 legal filing, claimed election fraud and other violations in what Chamisa described as a solid case.
“We neither give up nor give in,” Chamisa said Tuesday. “The past 38 years signified missed opportunities and neglected advantages. … Taught by the errors of the past, we stand ready to challenge all lies, contesting all deceptions until final victory.”
Zimbabwe’s national police, who have cracked down on public gatherings and speech, warned that only accredited individuals will be permitted to attend the court hearings. They also will not be allowed to carry “electronic gadgets like cell phones, laptops, cameras or other recording devices,” raising questions over how coverage by an independent media will be affected.
The state-affiliated Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation will stream the petition hearing, and will be the sole outlet to do so after a media advocacy group lost its appeal for alternative broadcasters.
The Zimbabwe military ran a message Tuesday night congratulating Mnangagwa on his victory. He insists that the elections were credible, free and fair, and has vowed to move forward.
Image: MDC/Chamisa file