Zimbabwe opposition file presidential poll challenge

11 August, 2018, 21:55 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • Zimbabwean police officials look at detained civilians as they stand in an armored vehicle outside MDC party headquarters in Harare

The Constitutional Court must rule within 14 days and Mnangagwa's inauguration would have to wait for the outcome of Chamisa's challenge.

The legal challenge is likely to result in a postponement of Mnangagwa's inauguration ceremony as president of Zimbabwe.

The MDC arrived at the court less than an hour before it closed on Friday, the last day that the petition could be lodged.

The Constitutional Court can nullify the results in which case there has to be a fresh election within 60 days.

Mr Mnangagwa won 50.8% of the vote, compared with Mr Chamisa's 44.3%, in the 30 July poll, the first since Robert Mugabe was ousted after 37 years as president in November. "We are seeking a declaration to the effect that the presidential election was not properly conducted", MDC party lawyer Thanbani Mpofu said.

The foreign affairs ministry on Tuesday said the inauguration was scheduled to take place on Sunday. "But if they want to meet us in court we have sufficient legal minds to meet them squarely in court", ZANU-PF legal secretary Paul Mangwana said.

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The polls' aftermath has been marred by allegations of a crackdown on opposition members, including beatings and arrests.

Also on Friday, lawyers for opposition figure Tendai Biti asked judges to throw out charges against him over the protests against alleged election fraud, in a case raising further worldwide concern about the new government. Opposition Nelson Chamisa, right, says the result was rigged.

Mnangagwa wrote on Twitter that Biti was released after he intervened personally in the case.

In recent days, the USA has criticised the treatment of opposition supporters and in particular key opposition figure Tendai Biti, who has been arrested in connection with the post-election violence. "We call on Zimbabwe's leaders to guarantee Mr. Biti's physical safety and ensure his constitutional and human rights are respected, consistent with the rule of law and Zimbabwe's global obligations and commitments", she said.

Mnangagwa's ruling ZANU-PF party dismissed the legal action.

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