Harare – Lawyers representing Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa have filed papers urging the country’s Constitutional Court to throw out an opposition challenge to his disputed election.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has said Mnangagwa and the ruling ZANU-PF party won the July 30 election in the country’s first election without former long-time ruler Robert Mugabe on the ballot. The electoral commission said Mnangagwa received 50.8 percent of the vote and main challenger Nelson Chamisa received 44.3 percent.
The main opposition MDC party on Friday filed a legal challenge to the results alleging “gross mathematical errors” and calling for a fresh vote or a declaration that their candidate, Nelson Chamisa, was the winner.
On Wednesday, Mnangagwa’s lawyers dismissed the challenge as “political.”
“We are more than confident, there is no evidence of direct manipulation. This is a political gamesmanship. Let’s see if that evidence is admissible in court,” said Lewis Uriri, who is leading Mnangagwa’s team of lawyers, including some hired from neighbouring South Africa.
Chamisa’s challenge “has no legal merit,” said Paul Mangwana, a lawyer and the ruling ZANU-PF spokesman.
Mnangagwa was forced to cancel an inauguration ceremony planned for last Sunday because of the court challenge. Zimbabwe’s law states that the case should be finalized within 14 days of the results, which were announced on August 3.
The case brings more uncertainty to a country that had hoped the peaceful vote would begin a new era but has been rocked since then by scenes of military shooting in the streets, in which six people were killed, and reports that opposition supporters have been harassed and beaten.