STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Zimbabwe opposition to challenge election results

Zimbabwe's pursuit of stability appeared uncertain Friday after the country's main opposition leader said hi...

Posted: Aug 4, 2018 1:13 PM
Updated: Aug 4, 2018 1:13 PM

Zimbabwe's pursuit of stability appeared uncertain Friday after the country's main opposition leader said his party would challenge the results of the presidential election, labeling them "fraudulent and illegal."

A day after President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner of the vote, Nelson Chamisa, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, told a news conference the vote was "anything but a free and fair."

Africa

Continents and regions

Eastern Africa

Elections and campaigns

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Government and public administration

Political Figures - Intl

Politics

Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwe

Voters and voting

Harare

Press conferences

Election results

The landmark vote -- Zimbabwe's first since the toppling of strongman Robert Mugabe -- was being closely watched, with election observers and foreign investors looking on to see if the country had shed its previous reputation.

Chamisa, who at 40 is the country's youngest presidential candidate, said his party was working "around the clock with a legal team" to put together a plan of action following the results, but he did not give any details.

"As far as we are concerned this presidential result is fraudulent, illegal, illegitimate, and characterized by serious credibility gaps and some serious legitimacy issues that we feel must be raised," Chamisa said at the news briefing.

The opposition leader's first attempt to hold a press conference Friday was thwarted after police stormed the Harare hotel where he was scheduled to speak.

For reasons that were unclear, police escorted journalists away from the area.

A Movement for Democratic Change representative told CNN the police had broken it up because they thought it was an "illegal political gathering."

After a brief standoff, police allowed accredited journalists back into the hotel.

Mnangagwa condemned the police action, tweeting: "The scenes today at the Bronte Hotel have no place in our society and we are urgently investigating the matter to understand exactly what happened. Over the past nine months we have protected freedom of speech, of assembly and the right to (criticize) the government."

Following Chamisa's news conference, Mnangagwa called for peace and unity.

Speaking at the State House in Harare, he said, "We cannot allow violent actions of few to detract from democratic expression of the many."

Mnangagwa sought an independent commission to investigate violent clashes this week and defended the vote as "a free, fair and credible election."

"Whoever you voted for, now begins the time to join hands for us to forge for a better future," he said.

"I pray to be a listening president, a fair president, a responsible and inclusive president."

On Wednesday, six people died following clashes between security forces and protesters in the capital as opposition supporters alleged vote rigging following the release of partial parliamentary election results.

The country is anxious to ensure the elections are considered free and fair to lure back foreign investment and resuscitate its ailing economy.

Zimbabwe, which suffered crippling hyperinflation under Mugabe, needs the International Monetary Fund to start giving it loans again. It also needs the United States, European Union and others to lift sanctions.

On Friday, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that "Zimbabwe's success in delivering an election day that was peaceful, and open to international observers, was subsequently marred by violence and a disproportionate use of deadly force against protestors by the security forces."

Nauert's statement said the US will review voting data collected by international and local observation teams to make a complete assessment of the election.

Mnangagwa -- who according to the election commission late Thursday won 50.8% of the vote -- took power in November after helping orchestrate a de facto coup against Mugabe who had served with for decades.

Known as "the crocodile" for his political cunning and longevity, the 75-year-old has tried to rebrand the ruling Zanu-PF party, pledging to heal divisions and rebuild the country.

But Mnangagwa is widely considered to represent a continuation of Mugabe's rule because he worked closely with the former leader for more than 40 years, first as his special assistant during the 1977 liberation war, and later as security minister and justice minister.

'Biggest challenges'

On Friday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called on all parties to accept the election results and "follow legal remedies provided for in the constitution and electoral law."

In a statement, Ramaphosa said he had called and congratulated Mnangagwa and expressed a commitment to "enhance the historical, political and fraternal relations which exist between South Africa and Zimbabwe."

The statement is likely to be interpreted as an important endorsement for Mnangagwa as he looks to defuse tensions and consolidate his victory.

European Union election observers on Friday also urged that the results be fully explained to the public.

"One of the biggest challenges this election faces is a lack of trust in all aspects," Mark Stevens, deputy chief observer of the EU Election Observation Mission to Zimbabwe, told CNN.

"We think now that the result has been given, we stress very strongly it needs to be fully explained how this result was ascertained, broken down by constituency, by polling station, so everyone can see how the result was ascertained and be confident about it, particularly as the gap was quite narrow."

Stevens also said his group had noted voter intimidation, media bias, misuse of resources and an imbalance in funding as some of the problems ahead of and during the vote.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2506247

Reported Deaths: 55965
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings33129910834
Queens31382710273
Suffolk2383183590
Nassau2136033286
Bronx2067916745
New York1674924632
Westchester1433882338
Erie1054771938
Richmond882931930
Monroe835191180
Orange57192909
Rockland52859779
Onondaga51456755
Dutchess35411497
Albany30510386
Oneida28347582
Broome24121403
Niagara23795397
Saratoga20034197
Ulster17179277
Schenectady16525227
Rensselaer14618167
Putnam1242096
Chautauqua12281172
Oswego11449112
Chemung10740153
St. Lawrence10354124
Steuben9972173
Ontario9244110
Jefferson867574
Cayuga8582107
Sullivan839483
Wayne801884
Cattaraugus7586112
Genesee6904132
Herkimer6671125
Clinton663138
Tompkins646359
Fulton6228102
Madison6092102
Montgomery5865138
Livingston564971
Warren537181
Cortland528479
Tioga501271
Columbia4966111
Chenango463586
Allegany454296
Washington453367
Otsego452654
Greene434286
Wyoming433657
Orleans428087
Franklin417920
Lewis355038
Delaware350747
Seneca271663
Schoharie227221
Essex224531
Yates158827
Schuyler151317
Hamilton4343
Unassigned14424
Out of NY0310
Utica
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 47°
Oneonta
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 37°
Herkimer
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 47°
Old Forge
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 47°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
NEW Game Day Deals each week
Chapter Aesthetic October Giveaway
Cool To Be Kind 2021
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve