Court to rule on disputed Zimbabwe election today

Court to rule on disputed Zimbabwe election today

A top court will on Friday issue its verdict on whether to overturn or uphold President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe election victory.

His main challenger Nelson Chamisa insists the Zimbabwe election rigged.

Crowds gathered on Wednesday around screens outside the country’s top court to watch a legal showdown.

Lawyers for Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa squared off before nine Constitutional Court judges.

Many more around the country were glued to live television and online footage of the hearing, the first time the public has seen the inner workings of the court.

Riot police blocked roads leading to the court in the capital Harare and vehicles carrying water cannon were parked nearby.

Chamisa, 40, says the first vote since the overthrow of Robert Mugabe in a November coup was rigged by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The commission and Mnangagwa maintain that there was no foul play.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba said the Constitutional Court would announce its ruling at 2 p.m. (1200 GMT) on Friday.

It could throw the case out, declare a new winner or order a fresh election within 60 days.

Wednesday’s hearing was cast as a major test of the independence of the highest court, whose verdict is final.

Mnangagwa and Chamisa were not at the hearing in person but their lawyers and the ZEC’s faced off in the packed courtroom.

Chamisa’s lead lawyer Thabani Mpofu argued that Zimbabwe election presidential results announced by the ZEC were different to those it had submitted in its court papers.

Mpofu said that at the time of the presidential election, the commission had inflated Mnangagwa’s figures by 69,000 votes.

He urged the court to invalidate the results and order the Zimbabwe election be conducted afresh.

Read the full report on Reuters here