3RD UPDATE: Zimbabwe opposition leader Chamisa accepts court's verdict dismissing his petition

Harare, Zimbabwe (PANA) - The losing candidate in Zimbabwe's 30 July presidential election, Nelson Chamisa, has accepted the verdict of the Constitutional Court that dismissed his petition against President Emmerson Mnangagwa's victory.

In a series of tweets, he said his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance believes in the rule of law and respects the verdict of the courts; "more so the verdict of the people of Zimbabwe who overwhelmingly voted for President Nelson Chamisa; for transformation; for opportunities and for prosperity."

He said MDC Alliance's "unstinting belief in the rule of law means we shall not only respect the verdict of the Bench but we shall also doggedly pursue all constitutionally permissible avenues to ensure that the sovereign will of the people is protected and guaranteed".

He called for peace adding "above all we call for the veneration and protection of the people’s sovereign expression which was unequivocal in the just-ended harmonized election".

He said "the sombre mood" in the country in the wake of today’s court verdict is in itself a telling statement.

Chamisa's acceptance of the court verdict came as Mnangagwa 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, 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.

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/ 24Aug2018

24 august 2018 17:26:45

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