Zimbabwe will have a new president by this weekend at the latest unless the Constitutional Court invalidates the 30 July elections and calls for fresh elections or decides that Emmerson Mnangagwa who was declared the winner did not get the required 50 percent plus one vote required for one to be an outright winner.
Movement for Democratic Change Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa rejected the results and challenged them in court.
The Constitutional Court is hearing the case this morning and its decision is final.
Chamisa has cited 25 respondents including all the presidential candidates that contested the elections.
He argues that he won the elections but they were rigged in favour of Mnangagwa by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, so he should be declared the winner. If not, he says fresh elections should be held, which will be in 60 days.
The Constitutional Court could also say Mnangagwa did not win the required votes for an outright win in which case a run-off will be held.
Initially the run-off had been scheduled for 8 September.
If the case is concluded today and a winner declared, the new president will be sworn in by Friday.
If it is concluded by tomorrow they the swearing in will be on Saturday, while if it is concluded on Friday, which is the final day for the court to do so, the swearing in will be on Sunday.
The court hearing, which will be live, will mark the end of three weeks of bickering in which Chamisa has claimed to have won the elections.
The ZEC, which is one of the key respondents and ran the elections, has called on the court to dismiss the court because Chamisa did not file any application in terms of the law.
It argues that he did so after the time permitted had elapsed.
The ZEC cited a court case in which the seven-day time limit was emphasised.
“The framers of the Constitution understood that in this world of men and women there are those unscrupulous enough and skilful enough to use falsehood disguised as a genuine challenge of the validity of an election of a President as an effective tool to undo an otherwise free, fair and credible election.
“A petition or application challenging the validity of an election of a President may be a predatory action aimed at preventing the ascendency into power by the winner. The use of a known lie as a tool for political ends to undo the outcome of an otherwise valid election is at odds with the premises of democratic government and the orderly manner in which political change is effected,” the court said.
While there has been an argument over whether weekends and public holidays count or not, some observers say that the fact that the Constitutional Court asked Chamisa’s lawyers to submit their answering affidavit last Saturday was a clear indication that weekends counted.