Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

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NAIROBI — Zimbabwe’s opposition on Sunday accused the ruling social gathering of “blatant and gigantic fraud” after authorities declared the incumbent president the winner of final week’s election, regardless of allegations of voter intimidation and a crackdown on authorities critics.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Fee, whose members are chosen by the president, introduced late Saturday that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had gained a second five-year time period with greater than 52 % of the vote. In line with the fee’s outcomes, opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa garnered simply 44 %. The elections have been held on Wednesday and prolonged into Thursday after some areas, together with the capital, Harare, didn’t obtain their ballots on time.

“They stole your voice and vote however by no means your hope. It’s a blatant and gigantic fraud,” Chamisa wrote Sunday on X, previously often called Twitter.

Addressing the media later at a information convention, Chamisa mentioned Zimbabwe was struggling by way of a “vicious cycle of disputed elections” and accused Mnangagwa, who first got here to energy following a army takeover in 2017, of staging a “coup” in opposition to the poll.

“You aren’t the final Zimbabwean; you aren’t the one Zimbabwean,” Chamisa mentioned, addressing Mnangagwa, who heads the ruling Zimbabwe African Nationwide Union — Patriotic Entrance, or ZANU-PF. “We’re all Zimbabweans, all of us rely. All of us matter and we are going to be certain that we take our stand.”

However the opposition chief, who additionally ran for president in 2018, stopped in need of pledging to formally contest the outcomes. Beneath Zimbabwe’s structure, candidates who need to problem the ultimate rely must file a petition with the constitutional courtroom inside seven days of the fee declaring a winner.

As an alternative, Chamisa, who leads the Residents Coalition for Change social gathering, mentioned that the social gathering and its supporters “have one million instruments at our disposal to realize our finish.”

The disputed vote comes as Zimbabwe, in southern Africa, grapples with hovering inflation and widespread corruption, the lead to a part of a long time of financial mismanagement beneath former president Robert Mugabe, who based ZANU-PF.

Mugabe spent 37 years in energy earlier than the army ousted him in a coup and put in Mnangagwa. The brand new chief vowed to sort out Zimbabwe’s catastrophic financial issues — however each inflation and unemployment stay sky-high. And key folks in Mnangagwa’s circle have been ensnared in high-level corruption circumstances.

Late final 12 months, the US imposed sanctions on 4 folks, together with Mnangagwa’s son, for graft and undermining democracy in Zimbabwe.

“We urge the Zimbabwean authorities to take significant steps in direction of making a peaceable, affluent, and politically vibrant Zimbabwe, and to handle the basis causes of lots of Zimbabwe’s ills: corrupt elites and their abuse of the nation’s establishments for his or her private profit,” the Treasury Division mentioned in an announcement saying the sanctions.

Farai Mukupete, 58, is a Chamisa supporter and member of the Zimbabwean diaspora in Britain. When reached by cellphone, he mentioned he was distraught by what he described as a “stolen election.”

“He’s enriching himself and his household,” Mukupete mentioned of Mnangagwa. “He’s constructing an empire for himself and his household out of the sources of this nation.”

Mukupete mentioned some Zimbabweans are beginning to view Mugabe extra favorably than the present president. “Regardless that they hated Mugabe within the final years of his rule, individuals are starting to say he was a lot better than Mnangagwa, regardless of all his failures,” he mentioned.

Outdoors observers, together with the European Union, criticized Zimbabwean authorities for fostering a “local weather of concern” across the election, together with voter intimidation and the arrest of impartial displays forward of the polls.

“Throughout the election course of, basic freedoms have been more and more curtailed … which resulted in a local weather of concern,” the E.U. mission mentioned in an announcement Friday. “The election course of fell in need of many regional and worldwide requirements, together with equality, universality, and transparency.”

On Sunday, Mnangagwa denied participating in fraud to win the election. On the X platform, he mentioned his victory was “a testomony to the ability of unity and progress.”

“Collectively, we are going to proceed constructing a brighter future for Zimbabwe,” he wrote.

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