Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice Luke Malaba has dismissed Nelson Chamisa’s application to have the results of the presidential election set aside, and ruled that Emmerson Mnangagwa is the rightful president of Zimbabwe on Friday.
The July 30 election results were challenged by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance leader Chamisa, who alleged a variety of electoral irregularities.
“It is the duty of the court to sustain that which the people have expressed,” said Malaba
The MDC had accused the ruling ZANU-PF party and the election commission of rigging the July 30 vote, Zimbabwe’s first poll since the ousting of Robert Mugabe last year.
Mugabe’s successor, Mnangagwa, won with 50.8% of the vote — just enough to avoid a run-off against the MDC’s Nelson Chamisa, who scored 44.3%.
In handing out his judgment, Malaba said that the burden of proof rested with Chamisa, the applicant, who had to prove to the satisfaction of the court that the election results were a product of fraud.
Chamisa was represented by Thabani Mpofu and three South African lawyers — Dali Mpofu, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and Jeremy Gauntlett — who were not allowed to speak during the court proceedings.
The applicant would also have to prove that the elections were poorly conducted and not in compliance with the law, and “were conducted in manner below statutory requirements”, said Malaba.
According to Malaba, the MDC filed a defective application, but the court nonetheless agreed to hear their application in “the interest of justice”.
But, Malaba said, the applicant made allegations against the country’s electoral commission without compelling evidence.
Thabani Mpofu had argued that the ZEC had created 69 000 votes to give Zanu-PF an advantage. The ZEC was also accused of unfairness when it delivered three results following the presidential election, the lawyers argued.
Mnangagwa’s inauguration should take place within 48 hours of the court’s ruling, according to the Constitution.