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confidentially speaking

The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 9th August 2018

Opposition challenges Mnangagwa's victory lap

Blue Lines

Emmerson Mnangagwa is sending out invitations to his inauguration on 12 August. That shows how much confidence he has that the judges of the Constitutional Court will throw out a challenge to the results which gave him 50.8% of the votes, avoiding a run-off election by just over 30,000 votes.

On 8 August, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change announced it would challenge the results declared by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. It has to submit its arguments and supporting evidence by 10 August. The Constitutional Court has 14 days to consider and adjudicate on the petition. Regardless of the eminence of the Court's judges it would be quite a stretch for them to seriously consider a petition covering 11,000 polling stations and 5.7 million voters in just a day before the inauguration.

This, together with repeated raids on the opposition's offices, the seizure of computers and documents, and beating and abduction of opposition supporters, are not the actions of a ruling party and candidate confident that their declared victory could withstand detailed scrutiny.

Indeed, when the United States-led observers requested the polling station returns, ZEC said these would take several more days to compile. This information would be critical to any independent assessment of the election's credibility. Should Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF disregard these concerns and press ahead with the inauguration, it will almost guarantee that the election fails the legitimacy test.