Mnangagwa Named Winner of Zimbabwe Vote, Main Rival Rejects Outcome

(Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa won another five-year term in Aug. 23-24 elections that international observers said were deeply flawed, and his main rival rejected the outcome as a “sham” that didn’t reflect the will of the people.

Most Read from Bloomberg

Mnangagwa won 52.6% support and Nelson Chamisa, 44%, results released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, in the capital, Harare, on Saturday showed. There were 6.6 million registered voters and 68.9% cast ballots.

“The election process in Zimbabwe was shamelessly flawed, violated the constitution of Zimbabwe, as well electoral laws,” Chamisa, a lawyer and pastor who heads the Citizens Coalition for Change, told reporters in Harare. “We reject this sham result and flawed process. We have won these elections.”

Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe African Union-Patriotic Front retained control of most rural areas in the parliamentary vote, while the main opposition prevailed in Harare and other urban centers. A compilation of the preliminary tallies by the local media indicated that the ruling party won 136 of the 210 National Assembly seats and the CCC 73. The final results still have to be officially announced.

Zanu-PF has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from the UK in 1980, while Mnangagwa, 80, has held power since longtime ruler Robert Mugabe was ousted in a 2017 coup. The country has lurched from one economic crisis to the next, government services have almost completely collapsed, unemployment is rampant and every vote since 2000 has been marred by allegations of violence, intimidation and rigging.

Opposition attempts to have previous election outcomes overturned in court have proved fruitless. Chamisa didn’t respond to questions as to whether the CCC will file a lawsuit challenging the latest results.

Doubts over whether the vote was credible will complicate Mnangagwa’s efforts by to restructure the nation’s debt arrears of $18 billion. Creditors including the African Development Bank have warned that any deal would be contingent on a fair contest.

Mnangagwa denied there had been any foul play.

“I can assure you that I did not conduct the elections. I competed” to win, he told reporters in Harare on Sunday. “Those who feel the race was not run fairly should know where to go to complain.”

Observers from the Southern African Development Community, a regional bloc, however, said the election fell short of the required standards.

European Union monitors and the US and UK embassies in Harare were even more scathing, saying the process was marred by violence and intimidation and the playing field was heavily titled in favor of Mnangagwa and the ruling party.

Mnangagwa accused some observer missions of overstepping their mandates when they criticized election legislation that Zimbabwe as a sovereign nation had every right to adopt

Read More: Zimbabwe Election ‘Fell Short’ of Standards, Say Observers

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.