President Emmerson Mnangagwa narrowly wins Zimbabwe election

Police removed opposition officials from the electoral commission stage when they rejected the results

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has won Zimbabwe’s presidential election, the electoral commission confirms.

Officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced early on Friday that Mnangagwa, leader of the ruling Zanu-PF party, received 2.46m votes, 50.8% of the 4.8m votes cast.

Nelson Chamisa, the candidate of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), won 2.14m votes and 44.3% of the overall, the ZEC said. Mnangagwa needed to win by more than 50% to avoid a run-off vote.

Police removed opposition officials from the electoral commission stage when they rejected the results.

Priscilla Chigumba, the chair of the ZEC, urged the country to “move on” with the hopeful spirit of election day and beyond the “blemishes” of Wednesday’s chaos: “May God bless this nation and its people,” she said.

Mnangagwa tweeted that he was “humbled” by the result. “This is a new beginning. Let us join hands, in peace, unity & love, & together build a new Zimbabwe for all!” he said.

Mnangagwa, took over as president last November from long-serving leader Robert Mugabe.

The day after the election, the MDC Alliance said Mr Chamisa had won the presidential vote, pre-empting an official announcement and prompting its supporters to celebrate in some areas of Harare.

The following day, when Zec announced that Zanu-PF had won the parliamentary vote by a landslide, tensions rose.

Chamisa called the results “fake” and said the electoral commission should release “proper and verified” numbers. “The level of opaqueness, truth deficiency, moral decay & values deficit is baffling,” he said.

Minutes before the final result, the MDC’s chairman, Morgen Komichi, made an impromptu televised statement at the commission, saying the election was “fraudulent” and that the party would challenge the results in court. He was then removed from the stage by police.

A few Mnangagwa supporters celebrated near the entrance to the conference centre where the results were declared but there was little in the way of public celebrations or protests in Harare. Police and soldiers patrolled the streets of the city overnight.

The election was the first to be held in the former British colony since Robert Mugabe, the 94-year-old autocrat who ruled for 37 years, was ousted by the army nine months ago. The result may determine the future of the impoverished nation of 16 million people for decades to come.

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