Zimbabwe presidential inauguration delayed amid court challenge

The ceremony – which was due to be held on Sunday – has been postponed while judges consider claims by opposition leader Nelson Chamisa that last month’s poll was rigged.

Mr Mnangagwa won 50.8% of the vote while Mr Chamisa’s polled 44.3% in Zimbabwe’s first election since Robert Mugabe was ousted after 37 years as president in November.

Mr Chamisa, leader of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), tweeted: “Our legal team successfully filed our court papers. We have a good case and cause!!”

Jameson Timba, a senior member of the MDC, said his party “will rest when this country is liberated”.

Mr Mnangagwa’s inauguration was postponed as soon as the challenge was filed. A ruling is expected within two weeks.

MDC must prove that any polling irregularities were widespread enough to change the outcome of the vote.

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Judges could declare a winner, call another election, or order a run-off or recount, the Veritas legal group said.

Mr Chamisa wants Harare’s constitutional court to declare him the winner or call a fresh election, it is reported.

The conduct of the election was largely deemed sound by international monitors, but representatives of the EU noted Mr Mnangagwa, a former long-time Mugabe ally, benefited from an “un-level playing field” and some voter intimidation.

“We’ve managed to place before the court forms that show the (results) figures were erased,” MDC party lawyer Thanbani Mpofu said.

“We are seeking a declaration to the effect that the presidential election was not properly conducted.”

The ruling party was quick to dismiss the bid.

“I am confident they have no case,” ZANU-PF legal secretary Paul Mangwana said.

“Elections are not won in court, they are won in the field. But if they want to meet us in court we have sufficient legal minds to meet them squarely in court.”

At least six people were killed in violence that erupted after the vote as security forces clashed with MDC supporters who alleged that Mr Chamisa had been robbed of victory.

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