The inauguration of Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been halted after the opposition filed a court challenge against the election result.
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa says he has evidence to show that he was cheated out of the 30 July presidential vote which Mnangagwa narrowly won with 50.8% – just enough to avoid a run-off against Chamisa, who got 44.3%.
In the court challenge, the party is demanding either fresh elections or the instalment of their candidate Chamisa as president.
The ceremony – which was due to be held on Sunday – has been postponed while the Constitutional Court consider claims by opposition leader Nelson Chamisa that last month’s poll was rigged.
“There will not be any inauguration this Sunday until this matter has been resolved in the courts,” said Chamisa’s lawyer Thabani Mpofu said.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi concurred, saying; “It (inauguration) will no longer happen. For now, it will stay pending until the court challenge determination.”
Mnangagwa won 50.8% of the vote while Chamisa’s polled 44.3% in Zimbabwe’s first election since Robert Mugabe was ousted after 37 years as president in November.
Chamisa, leader of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), tweeted: “Our legal team successfully filed our court papers. We have a good case and cause!!”
Jameson Timba, a senior member of the MDC, said his party “will rest when this country is liberated”.
Mnangagwa’s inauguration was postponed as soon as the challenge was filed. A ruling is expected within two weeks.
Chamisa wants the constitutional court to declare him the winner or call a fresh election, it is reported.
The conduct of the election was largely deemed sound by international monitors, but representatives of the EU noted Mnangagwa benefited from an “un-level playing field” and some voter intimidation.
At least six people were killed in violence that erupted after the vote as security forces clashed with MDC supporters who alleged that Chamisa had been robbed of victory.