In Zimbabwe, incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa won the presidential election, which observers judged to be insufficiently free and fair. The 80-year-old incumbent was able to secure almost 53 percent of the votes cast, the most promising opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa received 44 percent of the votes, as the election commission said late Saturday evening in the capital Harare.

This secures Mnangagwa, who came to power in 2017 after a military coup, for a second five-year term as president. According to preliminary results, the governing party Zanu-PF was also able to secure a solid majority in parliament.

Chamisa refuses to sign

Meanwhile, Chamisa’s opposition party CCC questioned the result of the election during the night. “We will not accept false results,” said the party on Platform X, formerly Twitter.

In a preliminary statement distributed by the CCC on the network, the party spoke of “discrepancies” in the information provided by the central election commission. The person responsible for voting for CCC candidate Chamisa refused to sign. We want to check the result. After the partly chaotic vote on Wednesday, the CCC had already accused the government of deliberately manipulating the election.

According to regional election observers, some of the presidential and parliamentary elections did not meet the legal requirements of the southern African country. In rural areas in particular, there has been widespread intimidation by groups close to the governing Zanu-PF party, according to a report by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) election observers on Friday. The organization also criticized the delays at polling stations after voting documents were not delivered on time. There was also clear criticism from the election observers of the European Union.

human rights activists worried

Even before the vote, human rights organizations had criticized the intimidation of voters, the falsification of the electoral register and the fact that the electoral commission was staffed with followers of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Zimbabwe’s economy is in a deep crisis with high unemployment and runaway inflation. Internationally, Zimbabwe is relatively isolated – many western donor countries, for example, avoid working with Mnanagagwa’s government due to democratic deficits.

In the country with around 16 million inhabitants, violence and allegations of manipulation have repeatedly occurred in connection with elections. Since Zimbabwe’s independence from British colonial power in 1980, long-term ruler Robert Mugabe has led the country in various positions until 2017, most recently with an increasingly heavy hand. After the military overthrow of President Mugabe, former Vice President Mnangagwa came to power. The election a year later, with Mnangagwa just ahead of Chamisa, was also marred by violence and repression.