Harare: President Emmerson Mnangagwa called on Friday for Zimbabwe to unite behind him after he was declared winner of national elections, but the Opposition leader questioned the outcome and demanded “proper and verified” results be released.
The election, the first since the army removed 94-year-old Robert Mugabe from office in November, passed off relatively smoothly on the day, raising hopes of a break from a history of disputed and violent polls. But an army crackdown on Opposition supporters in which six people were killed and Opposition claims that the vote was rigged revealed the deep rifts in Zimbabwean society that developed during Mugabe’s four decades in power, when the security forces became a byword for heavy-handedness.
The 75-year-old leader – a former spy chief under Mugabe – secured victory. He polled 2.46 million votes against 2.15 million for 40-year-old opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced on Friday.
Mnangagwa received 50.8% of the vote, just edging over the 50% mark needed to avoid a runoff. The delays in announcing the presidential results fuelled the Opposition accusations of rigging. -Agencies
A new beginning
This is a new beginning. Let us join hands, in peace, unity and love, and together build a new Zimbabwe for all. -Emmerson Mnangagwa, President