Incumbent Emerson Mnangagwa won the 2018 Zimbabwe elections with only a small lead over opposition leader Nelson Chamisa. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced that Mnangagwa’s narrow presidential victory – 50.8% (2.46 million votes) to Chamisa’s 44.3% (2.14 million votes).
The head of ZEC, Priscilla Chigumba encouraged the nation to “move on with a hopeful spirit” and expressed regrets over the violence that erupted in Harare where 6 people were killed. “May God bless this nation and its people,” she said.
The new President tweeted “Thank you Zimbabwe! I am humbled to be elected President of the Second Republic of Zimbabwe. Though we may have been divided at the polls, we are united in our dreams. This is a new beginning. Let us join hands, in peace, unity & love, & together build a new Zimbabwe for all!”
Mnangagwa was a close ally of the ousted Robert Mugabe who ruled the country for 37 years. The former vice president who was tagged as “the crocodile” for his political astuteness has been in office since November 2017 after Mugabe’s downfall.
Chamisa declared the election results “unverified fake” and “regrettable”. He tweeted the following message early on Friday:
“The level of opaqueness, truth deficiency, moral decay & values deficit is baffling,”.
Opposition’s Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC) chairperson Morgan Komichi also rejected the election outcome and described it as “bogus.”
“We were not given time to verify the results. This result that you are hearing has not been verified. These are bogus figures. They are bogus results, and we believe that a lot of the figures have been inflated,” he said in an impromptu televised statement held outside the National Results Centre.
The nation is now hoping to reestablish ties with the international community after years of isolation under Mugabe’s authoritarian rule.
However, that would be difficult if foreign powers decide that the election result did not earn Mnangagwa’s government the right to rejoin institutions such as the Commonwealth. Without an immediate infusion of foreign aid, the country will face an economic collapse.