President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe emerged triumphant, securing his reelection following a tumultuous presidential race marked by delays and controversies.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission formally declared Mnangagwa as the victor, having garnered 2,350,711 votes, translating to 52.6% of the total vote count.
His closest contender, Nelson Chamisa from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party, amassed 1,906,734 votes, constituting 44% of the overall tally.
This electoral triumph extends the ruling party Zanu-PF’s unbroken grip on Zimbabwean politics, a dominance it has held since the country’s liberation from British rule in 1980.
However, the 45-year-old Chamisa, who had expressed confidence in his prospects, openly contested the results released by the electoral commission, indicating a potential legal challenge in the horizon.
Chamisa’s CCC party raised concerns about the delayed distribution of voting materials, leading to widespread voting disruptions, alongside allegations of irregularities during the voting process. The party alleged that some of its candidates were omitted from ballot papers, which were found to feature the ruling party’s candidates’ images on CCC’s listings.
While the election was lauded for maintaining a peaceful atmosphere, international observers, including the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM), highlighted curtailed fundamental rights and instances of violence and intimidation that cast a shadow over the electoral process.
Moreover, roughly 40 election monitors were apprehended by Zimbabwean authorities for suspected coordination of result disclosure before the official count was completed. Amnesty International, a human rights organisation, linked these arrests to a report by the Zimbabwe NGO Forum, which detailed observed irregularities on election day.
This election marked the second since the fall of authoritarian leader Robert Mugabe through military intervention in 2017. Mnangagwa, known by the moniker “The Crocodile,” succeeded Mugabe and maintained his hold on power by clinching a hotly contested presidential race in 2018.
In the previous election, Mnangagwa secured 51% of the ballots, while Chamisa garnered 44%, prompting Chamisa’s legal challenge that was ultimately dismissed by Zimbabwe’s constitutional court.
Analysts had predicted this latest election’s outcome, anticipating a continuation of existing dynamics rather than a radical shift. Mnangagwa’s Zanu-PF party had confidently predicted a significant win, echoing this sentiment in the lead-up to the election. The predictable electoral landscape pointed towards reinforcing the prevailing political narrative rather than a transformative alteration.