Mnangagwa calls for peace, welcomes court backing of election win

Zimbabwe election appeal

Zimbabwe election appeal

"We are happy that you voted for President-elect Mnangagwa, who will be the President of the country after the court (ConCourt) hearing tomorrow (yesterday)".

"There has been a massive doctoring of evidence", Thabani Mpofu, a lawyer representing the MDC, told the top court when it started sitting on Wednesday.

The court avers that "the applicant failed to place before it clear, direct, sufficient and credible evidence that the allegations happened".

Chief Justice Luke Malaba took nearly an hour to read out the court's ruling, flanked by the eight other members of the court dressed in their wigs and black gowns, in front of a packed courthouse on Friday afternoon. This is so also because as long as an election was conducted substantially in terms of the constitution and the governing laws, it would have reflected the will of the people.

He said the change in figures of the final results had no effect on the outcome of the presidential election.

Mnangagwa, of the ruling ZANU-PF party, won the election with 50.8% of the vote - just enough to meet the 50% threshold needed to avoid a run-off against MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, who scored 44.3%.

The election was the first since Robert Mugabe, now 94, was ousted in November after 37 years in power.

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The MDC's appeal, which was lodged hours before the deadline on August 10, forced Mnangagwa's inauguration - planned for August 12 - to be postponed.

Global monitors largely praised the conduct of the election itself, although European Union observers said that Mnangagwa, a former long-time Mugabe ally, benefited from an "un-level playing field".

"We are ecstatic that the court has upheld the will of the people", said Paul Mangwana, spokesman for the president.

Mnangagwa won the election on July 30 by 50,8%; although the electoral body the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) later revised it to 50,67% citing mathematical errors.

Campaigning was more open than previous votes, but the election was marred by violence and a crackdown on opposition activists.

Zanu-PF's lawyer, Lewis Uriri, said Chamisa's case could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

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