Mnangagwa inauguration deferred after court challenge of result

Zimbabwean opposition official Tendai Biti

Zimbabwean opposition official Tendai Biti

Zimbabwe's constitution allows a presidential candidate to legally challenge electoral results within seven days of a victor being declared.

The legal challenge is likely to result in a postponement of Mnangagwa's inauguration ceremony as president of Zimbabwe.

Mr Chamisa tweeted: "Our legal team successfully filed our court papers".

Last month, Mnangagwa secured a comfortable victory, according to results from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, polling 2.46 million votes against 2.15 million for the 40-year-old Chamisa.

However, the announcement by Ziyambi was made on Thursday, before Chamisa had officially challenged the result.

Judges have 14 days to rule on the case, delaying the inauguration of Mnangagwa which was scheduled for Sunday.

Mr Mnangagwa won 50.8% of the vote compared with Mr Chamisa's 44.3%.

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The party must prove any irregularities were widespread enough to change the outcome of the vote.

"With the opposition criticising the results as fraudulent, several global observers highlighting irregularities with the conduct of the election and violent clashes between the protestors and national security forces, we see some risk that the election fails to offer Zimbabwe a fresh start".

There was great optimism that the elections would bring real change after the end of Robert Mugabe's 37-year rule in November.

The conduct of the election was largely deemed sound by worldwide monitors, but representatives of the European Union noted Mr Mnangagwa, a former long-time Mugabe ally, benefited from an "un-level playing field" and some voter intimidation.

Senior Zimbabwean opposition figure Tendai Biti was arrested as he tried to flee to neighbouring Zambia to seek asylum on Wednesday, his lawyer said, allegedly on charges of inciting violence over the disputed election result.

Prosecutors accuse him of fuelling illegal protests by rejecting Mr Mnangagwa's victory in the fiercely contested elections.

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