Emmerson Mnangagwa wins second term as he is declared winner in “sham, disorderly” elections


HARARE — On 26 August, 2023, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had been re-elected for a second term with 52,6 percent of the vote in an election that has been condemned as a “sham, disorderly” election by local critics and foreign observers.

Justice Priscilla Chigumba ZEC declares Emmerson Mnangagwa winner of Zimbabwe election 2023 results

In announcing the presidential results, ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Makanyara Chigumba said Nelson Chamisa of the main opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) was behind Mnangagwa with a total of 44 percent of the vote.

Of the total valid votes that were cast, Mnangagwa attained 2,350,711 votes while Chamisa garnered 1,967,343 votes, ZEC announced.

In a national televised address, Justice Chigumba said, “Therefore, Mnangagwa Emmerson Dambudzo of the ZANU PF is declared duly elected president of the Republic of Zimbabwe with effect from 26 August 2023”.

ZEC also announced that the following was the outlook of the 2023 presidential election by numbers:

There were a total of 6,619,691 registered voters, and the total number of votes cast was 4,561,221. Spoilt ballots stood at 92,553, while the total valid votes cast were 4,468,668. Voter turnout was 68.9 percent—as 2,062,290 registered voters did not vote.

For the National Assembly, ZANU-PF won 136 seats, while the CCC took 73. For Nelson Chamisa and the CCC, this will probably be a victory to savour given that Mnangagwa’s party has been denied a two-thirds majority in Parliament with which he could amend the Constitution. 

The 2023 Zimbabwe elections have been largely lambasted by local critics and foreign observer missions for being chaotic following the the delays in ballot materials distribution across several polling stations in urban areas, as well as the issue of ballot papers running out at some polling stations.

In an unexpected turn, SADC decried the elections in its preliminary report, saying the election was not credible. SADC cited the late opening of polling stations in opposition strongholds, a biased judiciary, disruption of opposition rallies, unequal access to media coverage, and ZEC’s questionable independence.

This report angered the Zimbabwe government, with Zanu PF spokesperson hurling attacks at Dr Nevers Mumba, the head of the SADC observer mission.

The European Union Observer Mission said that the elections had been conducted in a “disorderly” manner. Its verdict of the elections was that “they fell short of many regional and international standards”.

Although observer missions such as the Carter Center, the Commonwealth, and the African Union commended the overall peaceful nature with which the elections were conducted, they were not hesitant to advance razor-sharp, searing criticism of the elections.

Before the elections, Mnangagwa had repeatedly assured his party members and supporters that the party was poised for a “resounding victory” and that he would get a second term (being the last) in office. On the other hand, opposition leader Nelson Chamisa had hoped that this year’s election would break ZANU-PF’s stranglehold in the country’s sociopolitical climate.

In a country buckling under the weight of innumerable economic problems, many hold the hope that Mnangagwa will change the country’s fortunes, while others remain skeptic as to whether the ruling party has the capacity to meaningfully transform the country for the better.

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