Zimbabwe court dismisses MDC’s bid to annul election

Supporters of Mnangagwa celebrate in the street after the court delivered its conclusions in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. — AFP photo

HARARE: Zimbabwe’s top court on Friday dismissed an opposition bid to have presidential election results annulled over alleged rigging in favour of Robert Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In a verdict widely predicted by analysts, Chief Justice Luke Malaba strongly criticised the MDC party’s case and upheld Mnangagwa’s win.

“The court finds the applicant has failed to place before it clear, direct, sufficient and credible evidence of irregularities,” Malaba said in his ruling at the Constitutional Court in Harare.

“There was no proof of the happenings of these irregularities as a matter of fact.”

Mnangagwa, of the ruling ZANU-PF party, won the July 30 election with 50.8 per cent of the vote – just enough to meet the 50 per cent threshold needed to avoid a run-off against MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, who scored 44.3 per cent.

His inauguration would now take place on Sunday, justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told AFP.

Lawyers for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had argued that the results should be annulled due to alleged “massive doctoring” of the vote.

But the court backed lawyers representing Mnangagwa, ZANU-PF and the election commission who rubbished claims that the opposition had produced any substantial evidence of fraud.

“I once again reiterate my call for peace and unity,” Mnangagwa said in a television address after the ruling.

“Let us put whatever differences we might have behind us. It is time to build our nation and move forward together.”

Paul Mangwana, a ZANU-PF spokesman, said outside the court: “We are ecstatic… President Mnangagwa won and that can no longer be disputed.

“He is now ready to deliver on his mandate to usher in a new Zimbabwe.”

Mnangagwa, who has vowed to revive Zimbabwe’s ruined economy, had hoped the elections would draw a line under Mugabe’s repressive 37-year rule and open up a stream of foreign investment and aid. — AFP

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