Incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa has won Zimbabwe’s presidential election, according to official results, in a poll marred by deadly violence and opposition allegations of vote rigging.
Mnangagwa, of the ruling ZANU-PF party, won 50.8 percent of the votes cast, with his closest rival Nelson Chamisa, of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, garnering 44.3 percent, Zimbabwe’s electoral commission announced in the capital, Harare, early on Friday.
A candidate needed more than 50 percent of the votes to secure an outright victory in Monday’s poll.
Mnangagwa, a former vice president popularly known as “the crocodile” because of his political shrewdness, has been in power since November 2017 following the resignation of long-time President Robert Mugabe in the wake of a military intervention.
Shortly after the announcement of the results, Mnangagwa took to Twitter to thank Zimbabweans and hailed “a new beginning”.
The 75-year-old has vowed to bring in foreign investment and create much-needed jobs.
Paul Mangwana, spokesperson for ZANU-PF, said the ruling party was “very happy with the results”.
“We’re very pleased that our president has won because it means that we can now deliver the change that’s promised to the people,” he told Al Jazeera.
He added that if the opposition had “the courage to claim fraud, then they must have the courage to face us in court – we are ready for the battle and we will defeat [them] the same way we defeated them at the polls.”
Opposition candidate Chamisa on Friday said the release of “unverified fake” results was “regrettable”. “The level of opaqueness, truth deficiency, moral decay & values deficit is baffling,” he tweeted.
Earlier Morgan Komichi, MDC Alliance chairperson, described the results 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, speaking outside the National Results Centre.
ZANU-PF, which has ruled the southern African country since independence in 1980, also won a clear majority in the 210-seat parliament.
The ruling party won 145 seats, followed by the MDC which took 63. The National Patriotic Front and an independent candidate also picked up one seat each.