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Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa wins re-election

August 27, 2023

Emmerson Mnangagwa won a second term after a vote decried by opposition groups for irregularities. The high-stakes vote comes amid years of inflation and steep currency depreciation.

A woman casts her vote at a polling station in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023.
Observers said voting delays, the banning of rallies and biased state media coverage meant that the election fell short of democratic standardsImage: ASSOCIATED PRESS/picture alliance

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has won this week's presidential election with 52.6% of the vote, after a process decried by the opposition and international observers for its irregularities.

"Mnangagwa Emmerson Dambudzo of ZANU-PF party is declared duly elected president of the Republic of Zimbabwe," Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairwoman Justice Chigumba told a press conference.

The electoral commission said Mnangagwa's main challenger, Nelson Chamisa, won 44% of the vote.

Chamisa leads the opposition Citizens' Coalition for Change. A party spokesperson said it rejected "any result hastily assembled without proper verification," in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa
The 80-year-old Mnangagwa is nicknamed 'the crocodile' because of his ruthlessnessImage: Iranian Presidency/AA/picture alliance

The election was seen as a high-stakes vote, as the southern African country has suffered from years of runaway inflation, steep currency depreciation and a joblessness crisis.

What do we know about the election?

Observer missions have cast doubt on the integrity of this week's vote.

The election was due to be held on just one day, Wednesday, but voting was extended to Thursday after delays and problems with the printing of ballot papers.

The European Union's mission said the election took place amid a "climate of fear."

Voter turnout was 69%.

On Wednesday night, police arrested 41 election observers working for local pro-democracy NGOs and confiscated their computers and mobile phones.

Police accused them of "unlawfully" tabulating results from polling stations.

Zimbabweans cast votes in crucial elections: Knox Chitiyo, Chatham House

Misusing state institutions to remain in power?

The 80-year-old Mnangagwa is nicknamed "the crocodile" because of his ruthlessness.

He took over the reins of the country when his predecessor, the longtime strongman Robert Mugabe, was deposed in a military coup in 2017.

But his ruling ZANU-PF party has been in power for 43 years and has been accused of using state institutions to rig elections in its favor.

Mnangagwa and Chamisa also battled it out in the last vote in 2018. The opposition claimed at the time the vote was rigged, but the result was upheld by the constitutional court.

rmt/sri (AFP, Reuters, AP)