Emmerson Mnangagwa Wins Zimbabwe's Presidential Election as Opposition Rejects Results

The opposition in Zimbabwe is hotly disputing the results of the first election held in the country since the iron rule of Robert Mugabe ended.

Incumbent and leader of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party Emmerson Mnangagwa was announced the winner. Zimbabwe's Electoral Commission (ZEC) stated he got 2.46 million, or 50.8 percent of the votes cast, (via Reuters).

But the leader of the seven-party alliance the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Nelson Chamisa, who won 2.14 million votes, called the results "fake" and tweeted: "The level of opaqueness, truth deficiency, moral decay & values deficit is baffling."

Police are patrolling the streets of the capital, Harare, after six people were killed in protests. Chamisa has vowed he will legally challenge the results as his MDC disputes the high turnout and accused the ZEC of "rigging" and "manipulation", the BBC reported.

When in London earlier this year, Chamisa told Newsweek he did not expect the election to pass off without a hitch.

Police stand guard during a raid on the headquarters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) a day after post-election clashes in Harare, Zimbabwe, on August 2. The MDC disputes the victory of Emmerson Mnangagwa. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

"We are planning for a victory but budgeting for some shenanigans. We will not allow [Zanu-PF] to get away with murder, literally and metaphorically, like what they have done in the past," Chamisa said in May.

Earlier in the week, results from the parliamentary elections were announced, giving Zanu-PF 144 seats, the MDC Alliance 64 seats and the National Patriotic Front one seat.

Last November, Mnangagwa, 75, took over from Mugabe after 37 years of rule, but he is linked with the past and the country's security forces.

He tweeted: "I am humbled to be elected President of the Second Republic of Zimbabwe. Though we may have been divided at the polls, we are united in our dreams.

"This is a new beginning. Let us join hands, in peace, unity & love, & together build a new Zimbabwe for all!"

The election and its aftermath will be closely observed by the international community, keen to see whether Zimbabwe is on a path to reform after the years of brutal Mugabe rule that saw the collapse of its economy.

Chris Vandome, research associate for the Africa Program at the Chatham House think tank, said the opposition was always likely to dispute the result and Chamisa's claim of victory was in part his setting up for a legal challenge.

"There is now going to be a big question around the margin of that victory given that the result is broadly in line with expectations and the last polling.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa casts his ballot in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe, on July 30. He has been declared the winner in the election whose result has been disputed. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

"The preliminary statement from the European Union was that it was not a level playing field, and so now it is going to be a question of what the observer missions will say, which also determines how investors will react," he told Newsweek.

"This vote has been about gaining a legitimacy that can pave the way for a reintegration into the international community. It's about Mnangagwa being able to say, 'I am a legitimate president, let's talk.'"

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also chairperson the Southern African Development Community, has urged Zimbabweans to accept the victory of Mnangagwa, Reuters reported.

Vandome said, "There has been praise for the process, which was peaceful. By and large this has been seen as a better election process than has been run in Zimbabwe in the past and this is a positive step."