Zimbabwe's Chamisa challenges election result; inauguration halted

Tendai Biti

MDC Alliance has missed the 4pm deadline today to file the court case to challenge the presidential election results.

The MDC alliance filed their paperwork with Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court on Friday, alleging the result of the July 30 vote had been rigged in favour of incumbent Mnangagwa, the leader of the ruling ZANU-PF party.

"The inauguration is no longer going ahead (on Sunday) as planned", Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told AFP. "For now it has been stayed pending determination of the court challenge", Ziyambi said.

Mr Mnangagwa won 50.8% of the vote compared with Mr Chamisa's 44.3%.

The party must prove that any irregularities were grave enough to change the outcome of the vote.

Judges have 14 days to rule on the case, delaying the inauguration of Mnangagwa which was scheduled for Sunday.

Under the constitution, a losing presidential candidate has seven days to challenge the result from when a victor is declared.

Judges could declare a victor, call another election, or order a run-off or recount, the Veritas legal group said.

"We've managed to place before the court forms that show the (results) figures were erased".

The court's decision on the matter is final.

"We are seeking a declaration to the effect that the presidential election was not properly conducted".

Chamisa wants the constitutional court to declare him the victor or call a fresh election, it is reported.

Zanu-PF secretary for finance Patrick Chinamasa earlier in the week revealed that the party has assembled a 12-man legal team to respond to the challenge.

The polls' aftermath has been marred by allegations of a crackdown on opposition members, including beatings and arrests.

Also on Friday, lawyers for opposition figure Tendai Biti asked judges to throw out charges against him over the protests against alleged election fraud, in a case raising further global concern about the new government.

Mnangagwa secured a comfortable victory in last month's vote, according to results from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, polling 2.46 million votes against 2.15 million for the 40-year-old Chamisa.

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