2ND UPDATE: Mnangagwa reiterates peace, unity appeal

Harare, Zimbabwe (PANA) - Zimbabwe's president-elect, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose victory in the 30 July elections was upheld by the Constitutional Court on Friday, has called for peace and unity in the Southern African country.

He said he is ready to embrace every Zimbabwean regardless of political affiliation as the nation moves forward after the elections, the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) reported.

“I once again reiterate my call for peace and unity above all. Nelson Chamisa (opposition MDC Alliance leader), my door is open and my arms are outstretched, we are one nation, and we must put our nation first. Let us all now put our differences behind us. It is time to move forward together,” he said in a broadcast after the Constitutional Court's verdict.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba, reading the unanimous decision of the nine-member court, said the application by Nelson Chamisa, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, has been dismissed with costs and Emmerson Mnangagwa "is the duly elected president of the Republic of Zimbabwe".

Malaba said the applicant (Chamisa) failed to provide direct and substantial evidence to allegations of vote rigging, which would have been sufficient for the court to invalidate the election.

Mnangagwa won with 50.7% of the votes while Chamisa had 44.3%, according to the revised results.

The decision of the court is final and Mnangagwa is likely to be inaugurated on Sunday.

President Mnangagwa said after the "wholly unnecessary violent protests", following claims by MDC-Alliance that its victory was being stolen, he welcomes the legal route which the MDC eventually took to challenge the elections results.

“We have independent courts and we promised to respect their decision. Just as with the insights received from the international monitors, we will accept and implement all recommendations to further improve our democratic process,” he said.

The President elect added that his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) was not surprised by the court’s decision as the election results were firmly in line with all the pre-election polling, and were entirely consistent with the final tally of the largest body of independent observers.

He thanked ZANU-PF for having faith in him and supporting him throughout the electoral process.

Supporters of Chamisa staged a violent demonstration in Harare after Chamisa and leading members of the MDC claimed the day after the elections that they had won but were being cheated.

Police said six people died when the MDC supporters protested in the city burning lorry tyres, setting up barriers, destroying property, torching vehicles, looting and robbing vendors and pedestrians.

Mnangagwa became the president last November after a popular uprising involving war veterans, politicians, the general public and supported by soldiers ousted the long-serving leader, Robert Mugabe, who had been at the head since 1980.
-0- PANA MA/VAO 24Aug2018

24 august 2018 16:19:46

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