Emmerson Mnangagwa, the president of Zimbabwe, was sworn in for a second and final term after being proclaimed the victor of elections last month, which the opposition had condemned as a fraud and which foreign observers had deemed to be seriously flawed.
Mnangagwa, who will turn 81 next week, took the oath of office on Monday at Harare’s National Sports Stadium. Among those present during the event were the presidents of Mozambique, South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nigeria sent its vice president.
Mnangagwa has held power since long-time ruler Robert Mugabe was toppled in a military-backed coup in 2017. His tenure has been marred by a series of economic crises, the near-collapse of government services, runaway inflation and widespread poverty and unemployment.
“Our new government shall continue to foster a predictable environment where capital shall feel safe” and will ensure the country’s resources are sustainably exploited to foster development, Mnangagwa said in his acceptance speech. “Let us grow our country’s manufacturing base.”
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said that official results showed Mnangagwa won 52.6% of the votes cast and the ruling Zimbabwe National Union-Patriotic Front secured 136 seats in the 210-seat National Assembly. The Citizens Coalition for Change, led by lawyer Nelson Chamisa, said the contest was tainted by numerous irregularities and called for a rerun.
Any legal challenge to the outcome had to be filed within seven days of the Aug. 26 results announcement. The CCC decided not to approach the courts because it considered the judiciary to be biased in favor of the ruling party, said Promise Mkhwananzi, the party’s spokesman.
“There is lopsidedness of the courts, and the judgments in the build up to the election were all against us,” he said. “It would have been an exercise in futility.”
THANK YOU AFRICA AND THE WORLD for standing with us Zimbabweans in dismissing fraud and stolen elections. Together, we will reverse this sham and have a legitimate government freely elected and enjoying the full will of all the people of Zimbabwe! It’s not over!
— nelson chamisa (@nelsonchamisa) September 4, 2023
The opposition has failed in several previous bids to have disputed election outcomes overturned by the courts, including one that Chamisa filed to reverse Mnangagwa’s victory in 2018.
Not all of Mnangagwa’s peers have openly supported his reelection. Zambian leader Hakainde Hichilema dispatched his foreign minister to represent him at the inauguration and instead opted to clean a jail cell when he was once imprisoned.