Zimbabwe’s elections commission said late on Saturday that incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa had won this week’s presidential election with roughly 53% of the vote, but the opposition and analysts immediately questioned the result.
Mnangagwa, who took over from longtime leader Robert Mugabe after a 2017 army coup, was widely expected to secure re-election for a second term as analysts said the contest was heavily skewed in favour of the ZANU-PF ruling party, which has been in power for more than four decades.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said Mnangagwa’s main challenger, Nelson Chamisa, who leads the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) party, secured 44% of the presidential vote.
ZANU-PF supporters started singing and cheering at the results centre after the elections commission said Mnangagwa had won.
A CCC spokesperson said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that the party rejected “any result hastily assembled without proper verification”.
Mnangagwa also narrowly defeated Chamisa at the last presidential election in 2018. The opposition alleges that election was rigged but the constitutional court upheld the result.
While the run-up to the election has been largely free from violence, the police routinely ban opposition rallies and arrest opposition supporters using Zimbabwe’s tough public order laws.
ZANU-PF denies it has an unfair advantage or seeks to influence the outcome of elections through rigging.