Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s president and the leader of the ruling Zanu-PF party, has won the country’s historic and hotly contested presidential election.
Officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced early on Friday that Mnangagwa had received 2.46m votes or 50.8% of the 4.8m votes cast. Nelson Chamisa, the candidate of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), won 2.14m votes and 44.3% of the overall, the ZEC said. Mnangagwa needed to win by more than 50% to avoid a run-off vote.
Priscilla Chigumba, the chair of the ZEC, urged the country to “move on” with the hopeful spirit of election day and beyond the “blemishes” of Wednesday’s “chaos”, when the army opened fire on protestors in Harare, the capital, killing six people. “May God bless this nation and its people,” she said.
Mnangagwa tweeted that he was “humbled” by the result. “This is a new beginning. Let us join hands, in peace, unity & love, & together build a new Zimbabwe for all!” he said.
On Friday morning Chamisa called the results “fake” and said the electoral commission should release “proper and verified” numbers. “The level of opaqueness, truth deficiency, moral decay & values deficit is baffling,” he said on Twitter.
The MDC had rejected the results even before they had been announced in full. Minutes before the final result, the MDC’s chairman, Morgan Komichi, made an impromptu televised statement at the commission, saying the election was “fraudulent” and that the party would challenge the results in court. He was then removed from the stage by police.