Zimbabwe opposition leader insists he won elections

MDC leader Nelson Chimasa
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Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa on Saturday refused to accept a Constitutional Court ruling that upheld Emmerson Mnangagwa’s win in presidential elections in July.

In his first comments since the country’s top court overturned the opposition’s legal challenge to have the results annulled, Chamisa vowed to lead “peaceful protests”.

“I have a legitimate claim that I am supposed to lead the people of Zimbabwe,” the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party said Saturday.

“Yes, judgement has been made but as far as we are concerned, we have a view that is contrary to the view of the Constitutional Court,” Chamisa said.

“The court’s decision is not the people’s decision. The people who voted do not believe in (Mnangagwa). We have got a clear majority.”

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

Robert Mugabe’s successor Mnangagwa, of the ruling ZANU-PF party, won the July 30 election with 50.8% of the vote, just enough to meet the 50% threshold needed to avoid a run-off against Chamisa, who scored 44.3%.

The elections were largely judged to be free of the violence which characterised previous elections in Zimbabwe.

Chamisa insists he won more than two-thirds of the vote.

“The legal door is not the only door to happiness,” he said. “Using our constitutional right, we have a right to peaceful protests. This is the route we will take.”

Mnangagwa took over from Mugabe after the long-time ruler was ousted following a brief military takeover in November 2017.

He vowed to hold free and fair elections and mend strained relations with the west but his plan was marred when soldiers fired at protesters on August 1 killing at least six people.

His inauguration will now take place on Sunday.

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