Zimbabwe headed to the ballots on the 30th of July,2018 to elect their next president after the resignation of former president Robert Mugabe following a military intervention in November 2017. Among a total of 23 Candidates that competed in the presidential race, Emmerson Mnangagwa took a narrow victory while the country’s opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, declared it a day of mourning for democracy.
Once in power, Mnangagwa made all the right noises, talking of democracy and investment. He even spoke of rejoining the Commonwealth, an ambition that the then foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, described as “fantastic news”.
As the electoral commission in that country released preliminary results, violence erupted and left 6 people dead after soldiers opened fire on the protesters in a response to the opposition alliance called "disproportionate and unjustified".Zimbabwean authorities have reportedly set up joint reaction teams to end a spate of violence and threats against opposition supporters by suspected military personnel in some parts of the capital Harare.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, in a joint statement, the military and police urged the public to capture visual images of the abuses, but said,however, that they must do so in a way that would not endanger their lives.
Human Rights Watch said it had documented "numerous cases" of soldiers beating up people in some Harare bars and restaurants since the August 1 shootings. The military accused the people of undermining Mnangagwa because most votes in the Zimbabwean capital went to the opposition, according to the international rights group.
But the police and army officials said the alleged threats against opposition officials and supporters were likely carried out by criminals who were masquerading as soldiers.
The MDC alleged rigging of the presidential election and declared the results fake. To also react to the developments is Professor Charity Manyeruke who is the Dean of the faculty of Social Studies at the University of Zimbabwe.
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa called Zimbabwe's election result, which President Emmerson Mnangagwa won with 50.8% of the vote, "fraudulent, illegal, and illegitimate" during a press conference that was delayed by riot police in the capital Harare. The MDC Alliance party leader reiterated his allegation that the election "rigged".
He also quoted, "Mr Mnangagwa did not win the election in this country … we won this election emphatically,” “We won this election and we are ready to form the next government.” He also referred to the riot police disrupting the event. "This is not the behaviour of people who had won, it is the behaviour of people who had lost."
The MDC alliance filed their paperwork with Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court on Friday, the 10th of August. "Our legal team successfully filed our court papers. We have a good case and cause!!" MDC leader Nelson Chamisa said on Twitter.
Judges have 14 days to rule on the case, delaying the inauguration of Mnangagwa which was scheduled for Sunday,12th of August.
MDC lawyer Thabani Mpofu said on Wednesday that “We are working with a huge team of local lawyers and internationally recognised constitutional lawyers on this petition,”. The opposition also accuses the army of launching a crackdown against its leadership and supporters in a bid to stop the court challenge. “My team is being harassed but we do not fear them and we are happy to address the Constitutional Court whilst on death beds and in prison,” he said.
But given the partisanship of Zimbabwe’s judges, defeat looks certain. Therefore Mr Mnangagwa will be sworn in again as president before the end of the month. He will do so amid growing mistrust among foreign governments and would-be investors.
Will Nelson Chamisa be able to win the case and claim his position as a president? ,
By Nikita Moolchandani.