Zimbabwe's top court confirmed President Emmerson Mnangagwa's narrow win in the country's July election, dismissing an opposition challenge. Mnangagwa, who succeeded Robert Mugabe, called for peace following the ruling.
Zimbabwe's constitutional court on Friday unanimously dismissed a legal challenge by the opposition to have the July 30 election results annulled over vote rigging allegations, in a decision the opposition leader has rejected.
The nine-judge court said in their decision that the opposition did not provide "sufficient and credible evidence" to support their claims.
Friday's decision confirms President Emmerson Mnangagwa's win in the election, securing his place as the first leader to take over following Robert Mugabe's 37-year-rule.
Opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa on Saturday said he rejected the court ruling upholding Mnangagwa's win and he called the inauguration planned for Sunday "false."
Chamisa said the opposition now "have the right to peaceful protest" and that other routes would be pursued.
Mnangagwa, a member of the ruling ZANU-PF party, won the election with 50.8 percent of the vote, narrowly passing the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff, while his main opponent, Chamisa, garnered 44.3 percent.
His inauguration was originally slated to take place on August 12, but was postponed due to the opposition's legal challenge.
Calls for peace
Mnangagwa welcomed the ruling and offered an olive branch to Chamisa and the opposition.
"I once again reiterate my call for peace and unity above all," Mnangagwa said on his official Twitter account.
"Nelson Chamisa, my door is open and my arms are outstretched, we are one nation, and we must put our nation first," he added.
Chamisa on Saturday said the opposition had reached out to Mnangagwa for dialogue following the invitation, but the president had not responded.
The opposition MDC said that it would "act within the law" following the court decision. Security was tight in the country's capital Hare ahead of the decision, although there were no immediate reports of unrest.
Mnangagwa, formerly Mugabe's defense and security minister (among other roles), took power after Mugabe stepped down last November amid pressure from Zimbabwe's military.
Credible election results in Zimbabwe are key to lifting international sanctions that were put in place over Mugabe's harassment of the opposition and the rigged voting that took place under his rule.
rs/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)