On Sunday, the leader of Zimbabwe’s primary opposition party alleged that there was “gigantic fraud” after President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner of the country’s election amid reports from international observers of voter intimidation, the Associated Press reported.
The returns in last week’s election were announced on Saturday, two days earlier than anticipated.
Nelson Chamisa, the leader of Citizens Coalition for Change, the opposition party, announced that his party would challenge the election results, which he described as “hastily assembled” and lacking “proper verification.”
In a post on social media, Chamisa accused the ruling party of “blatant and gigantic fraud.”
President Mnangagwa, 80, dismissed the allegations of voter fraud, telling reporters on Sunday that the election was conducted “transparently, fairly in broad daylight.”
According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Mnangagwa won his second and final 5-year term with 52.6 percent of the vote. Chamisa, whom Mnangagwa defeated five years earlier, received 44 percent of the vote in last week’s election, the electoral commission said.
International observers reported problems with last week’s election, which was held on August 23-24, citing voter intimidation against Chamisa’s supporters.
The election also faced problems due to a shortage of paper ballots, particularly in the capital Harare and other urban areas that favored the opposition party, forcing voting to be extended to Thursday.
International rights groups also reported a crackdown on opposition to the ruling ZANU-PF party and Mnangagwa in the build-up to the election, using the police and courts to intimidate and harass officials from the opposition and their supporters.
In an interview with the Associated Press in early August, Chamisa alleged that his party’s rallies had been shut down by police and his supporters intimidated and threatened.
Speaking in Harare on Sunday, Chamisa vowed to challenge the results, which he described as “criminal” and “doctored.”