HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe's largest opposition leader said on Saturday he had a legitimate claim to lead the South African nation after refusing a court ruling that confirmed President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the winner of the July 30 presidential election.
FILE PHOTO: Democratic Change Democrat leader Nelson Chamisa addresses a media conference on August 3, 201
Nelson Chamisa claims he did it won the first election since Robert Mugabe's departure last November and said the Constitutional Court had foiled his bid to audition the electoral commission to provide critical evidence to support his case.
The court dismissed Chamisa on Friday, saying he had failed to prove his allegations of electoral fraud.
A widely condemned crackdown by the army in response to post-election violence by opposition parties on August 1 left six people in abeyance, reminding of the tenacious security tactics that made up Mugabe's 37-year rule.
"I respectfully disagree and reject the position reached by the Constitutional Court," Chamisa told reporters in Harare.
"President Mnangagwa is controversial, I have a legitimate claim that I should lead the people of Zimbabwe," Chamisa said, adding that he would not be attending Mnangagwa's inauguration on Sunday.
Last month's elections, in which Mnangagwa and Chamisa were the main contenders, were designed to bring Zimbabwe out of its diplomatic isolation, end international sanctions, and initiate economic recovery.
But the vote has polarized the nation back into violence after violence erupted Harare flared up, and Chamisa, head of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), accepted his legal challenge.
Chamisa says he won the election with 2.6 million votes, compared to two million for Mnangagwa, but he has not presented any evidence. The official result showed that Mnangagwa came with 2.4 million votes to Chamisa's 2.1 million votes.
Chamisa acknowledged that with the decision of the Constitutional Court "the legal path has reached a dead end".
He said his party's executive would meet on Wednesday to plan their next move, reiterating that peaceful street protests were an option "to protect the people's victory."
EU and Commonwealth observers said the election had been largely peaceful, but listed several issues, including intimidation of voters, distrust of the electoral commission, and their delay in publishing the results. The observers also criticized the crackdown on protests by the army.
In response to Mnangagwa's comments on Twitter that Chamisa has his door open and his arms open, the 40-year-old politician said talks with the ruling party are only about legitimizing the president and the "vicious circle of controversial elections" could.
Chamisa's comments will do little to ease tensions in a country that has been suspended in controversial polls since the MDC's first election in 2000.
In separate declarations, the European Union on Friday called for "restraint and restraint" after the court verdict, while the United States called on the parties to respect the "constitution and the rule of law."
After his inauguration on On Sunday, Mnangagwa will face the challenge of convincing the international community that the crackdown on the army and the failure of the electoral process will not derail its promise of reforms to overcome Mugabe's corruption and mismanagement.
MacDonald Dzirutwe,; Edited by Alison Williams, Ed Osmond and Adrian Croft