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Zimbabwe presidential inauguration delayed amid court challenge

11 August 2018

Despite the contentious election result, the state-owned Herald newspaper has reported that President-elect Emmerson Mnangwagwa will be inaugurated on Sunday, 12 August.

The filing of the petition also means Mnangagwa's inauguration, which had been scheduled for Sunday, will have to be cancelled until the court renders a decision on the matter.

Zimbabwe's electoral commission has said Mnangagwa won the election, the first without longtime President Robert Mugabe on the ballot form, garnering 50.8 percent of the vote against 44.3 percent for Chamisa.

The inauguration was postponed as soon as the challenge was filed less than an hour before the court closed for the weekend.

He was also charged with falsely and unlawfully announcing results of the July 30 election, which Chamisa rejected as fraudulent and is set to challenge in the Constitutional Court on Friday.

The Zimbabwe elections body, ZEC, declared Mnangagwa victor of the hotly contested polls with 50.8% of valid votes cast. "But if they want to meet us in court we have sufficient legal minds to meet them squarely in court", ZANU-PF legal secretary Paul Mangwana said.

The Constitutional Court can nullify the results in which case there has to be a fresh election within 60 days.

Chamisa's legal team is led by Chris Mhike as the instructing attorney and Thabani Mpofu as the leader of the counsel.

Diplomats and election observers were present at the court hearing in Harare after Biti fled to Zambia but was handed back to Zimbabwean police despite claiming asylum.

On August 1, soldiers opened fire on MDC protesters, killing six people and sparking an worldwide outcry.

"Zimbabwe faces a awful threat from a group of people that has no respect for the law", Biti, who was granted bail Thursday, told the court.

‏Tendai Biti was released earlier today following my intervention.

It said it had received numerous complaints of intimidation, often by men in military uniform, of voters thought to have backed the opposition. We call on Zimbabwe's leaders to guarantee Mr. Biti's physical safety and ensure his constitutional and human rights are respected, consistent with the rule of law and Zimbabwe's worldwide obligations and commitments.

But the MDC say the security forces have launched a brutal crackdown on the opposition following the disputed poll.

Zimbabwe presidential inauguration delayed amid court challenge