Mnangagwa urges unity, promises to probe post-election violence


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Mnangagwa won 50.8 percent of the vote, official figures showed, just over the 50 percent mark needed to avoid a runoff. The delays in announcing the presidential results and the narrow margin of victory fueled the opposition accusations of rigging.

He now faces the challenge of persuading the international community that the army crackdown and lapses in the election process will not derail his promise of political and economic reforms needed to fix a moribund economy.

European Union observers on Wednesday cited several problems, including media bias and mistrust in the electoral commission. Its final assessment will be crucial in determining whether Zimbabwe can return to the international fold.

The United States, which is weighing whether to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe, said it was reviewing data by its own and other election observers and urged all sides to act peacefully.

“We encourage all stakeholders and citizens to pursue any grievances peacefully and through established legal channels, and we encourage all political leaders to show magnanimity in victory and graciousness in defeat,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Chamisa, who accused the commission of trying to rig the vote, said it should release “proper and verified” results.

He told a news conference he would pursue all legal means necessary to challenge the result, which had serious legitimacy problems. He declined to divulge the specific action that his party would take to challenge the election outcome.

Christopher Dielmann, economist at Exotix Capital, said the immediate priorities for Mnangagwa would be to continue on the path of restoring the economy and boosting exports, helped by international engagement.

“By many accounts, this imperfect election delivered sufficient transparency, especially in relation to past results in the country, that should allow re-engagement to occur relatively smoothly.”

Charles Laurie, head of country risk for Verisk Maplecroft, said for international investors, Zimbabwe’s election was less about an MDC or a ZANU-PF win, and far more about electing a legitimate, stable and trustworthy leader.

“There is a bleak pall over Mnangagwa’s win,” he said.

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa urged all Zimbabweans to accept the poll results.

Harare’s traffic was thinner than usual. Water cannon and anti-riot police remained outside MDC offices, a reminder of the clashes between opposition and the security forces this week.

“We are not happy with this election but what can we do?” said Patience Sithole, a cleaner in Harare.

“We don’t trust these observers, we don’t trust these courts. I’m not sure things will ever change in Zimbabwe.”

The Herald newspaper, which acts as a government mouthpiece, hailed the election as reflecting the will of the majority and admonished the opposition, decrying “a culture of rabble-rousing and sham protests of alleged rigging whenever a party loses.” – Reuters

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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