Zimbabwe rejects ‘fake’ poll results

London, Aug 3 (Agencies): | Publish Date: 8/4/2018 12:00:00 AM IST

 Zimbabwe’s opposition leader has dismissed the victory of President Emmerson Mnangagwa as being based on “unverified fake results”.

Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance vowed to launch a legal challenge, saying the vote was rigged.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), which announced the results, said there was “no skulduggery” involved in the vote tally.

This was the first election since long-term leader Robert Mugabe was ousted.

In a tweet, Mr Mnangagwa has urged Zimbabweans to unite to create “a new beginning” after a vote that was intended to set Zimbabwe on a new path following years of repressive rule.

The veteran Zanu-PF politician took office after Mr Mugabe, 94, was forced to resign in November amid a military takeover.

Police are patrolling the streets of the capital, Harare, after protests on Wednesday left six people dead.

A BBC correspondent in the city centre says a police vehicle with a loudspeaker is broadcasting the message: “Zimbabwe is open for business. We are here to protect you. Feel free to walk and open your business. All is well, fear not.”

The city, which is seen as an opposition stronghold, is quieter than normal as people are digesting the outcome, correspondents say.

But there were celebrations in one part of Harare. The president’s supporters in the suburb of Mbare took to the streets to welcome the news.

“This is a new Zimbabwe, we are happy,” AFP news agency quotes 32-year-old IT specialist Tendai Mugadzi as saying.

Mr Mnangagwa avoided a run-off by just 36,464 votes out of more than 4.8 million cast.

Overall, official results show he took 50.8% of the vote to Mr Chamisa’s 44.3%. The 21 other candidates took up the remainder. At the last election, Mr Mugabe won 61% of the vote, with the opposition’s main candidate, the late Morgan Tsvangirai, winning 34%. The electoral commission finished announcing the presidential election results in the early hours of Friday morning, after days of waiting.

Zec acknowledged that the wait had caused anxiety and international observers had earlier urged the commission to speed up the announcement. Under the constitution, the commission had until Saturday to declare the result.

The results of the parliamentary election were announced earlier in the week. They gave Zanu-PF 144 seats; the MDC Alliance, which is made up of seven parties, 64 seats, and one seat to the National Patriotic Front, formed by Mugabe loyalists.

Although Zanu-PF won by a landslide, its majority has shrunk since the 2013 election when it obtained 160 seats and the MDC 49.

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