Zimbabwe’s elections commission announced on Saturday that Emmerson Mnangagwa, the incumbent president, had won the presidential election with approximately 53% of the vote. However, the opposition and analysts immediately raised doubts about the result. Mnangagwa, who took over from Robert Mugabe after a military coup in 2017, was widely expected to secure re-election for a second term due to the heavily skewed contest in favor of the ruling ZANU-PF party. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) reported that Nelson Chamisa, the main challenger and leader of the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) party, received 44% of the presidential vote. ZANU-PF supporters celebrated the announcement of Mnangagwa’s victory, while the CCC rejected the result without proper verification. This election follows the 2018 presidential election, in which Mnangagwa narrowly defeated Chamisa amidst allegations of rigging. The opposition claims that the police routinely ban their rallies and arrest their supporters using public order laws. ZANU-PF denies any unfair advantage or attempts to influence election outcomes through rigging. Observers from the European Union and the Southern African regional bloc SADC noted issues such as voting delays, rally bans, biased media coverage, and a “climate of fear” surrounding the election. The timing of the announcement of the election results is seen as a response to the criticism from SADC and other observers. Voting in the presidential and parliamentary elections was initially scheduled to conclude on Wednesday but extended into Thursday in some areas due to the late distribution of ballot papers.
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