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Zimbabwe opposition calls for poll re-run amid alleged irregularities

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Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Citizens’ Coalition for Change, has called for a re-run of last week’s elections, citing alleged irregularities.

The party has claimed that the polls were riddled with flaws and has called on other African countries to help mediate in its impasse with the ruling party.

Zimbabwe opposition calls for poll re-run amid alleged irregularities
Zimbabwe’s main opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Nelson Chamisa addresses the media after casting his vote in general election at Kuwadzana 2 primary school in Harare, Zimbabwe August 23, 2023. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File photo

During a press conference, CCC deputy spokesperson Gift Siziba stated, “The only resolution and way forward… is that Zimbabwe needs a fresh and proper election to end the current crisis.”

However, the party did not specify how it plans to force a re-run, refusing to answer questions from reporters regarding potential court cases to overturn the disputed results.

According to the CCC, the entire election was flawed, alleging deliberate voter suppression that resulted in a low turnout in urban areas, where the party typically performs strongly. On the other hand, President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling ZANU-PF party was declared the winner of the election on Saturday. ZANU-PF has denied attempting to influence the outcome, and Mnangagwa has encouraged those with complaints to approach the courts.

Zimbabwe opposition calls for poll re-run amid alleged irregularities
Ostallos Siziba, the Deputy Spokesperson for Zimbabwe’s main opposition party The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) speaks to media in Harare, August 29, 2023. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

The Zimbabwe elections commission reported that Mnangagwa received approximately 53% of the vote, while the CCC’s Nelson Chamisa received 44%. However, political analysts have raised concerns about the credibility of these results.

The call for a re-run comes as tensions mount in Zimbabwe. There have been reports of violence and protests, with both the ruling party and opposition accusing each other of misconduct.

Observers from international organizations, such as the European Union, have also voiced concerns about the fairness of the election process.

Zimbabwe opposition calls for poll re-run amid alleged irregularities
Supporters of Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader and leader of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Nelson Chamisa react during the party’s final rally ahead of the elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 21, 2023. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File photo

The CCC’s demand for a fresh election has garnered attention and support from various African countries. South Africa, in particular, has expressed interest in mediating between the opposing parties. The African Union has called for calm and peaceful resolution, urging all parties to respect the rule of law and democratic processes.

According to experts, launching a legal challenge against the CCC is unlikely to be successful due to the perception that the judicial system is controlled by ZANU-PF.

Chris Maroleng from Good Governance Africa expressed skepticism about approaching the same court that has been criticized and expecting a favorable outcome. He suggested that the opposition’s best option might be to seek intervention from the Southern African regional bloc SADC, pushing for new elections under international supervision. However, it remains unclear which legal mechanisms SADC would employ in this endeavor.

Zimbabwe opposition calls for poll re-run amid alleged irregularities
Ostallos Siziba, the Deputy Spokesperson for Zimbabwe’s main opposition party The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) speaks to media in Harare, August 29, 2023. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Christopher Vandome from Chatham House’s Africa program voiced uncertainty about whether the opposition would pursue a legal approach at all. He mentioned that they are currently collecting their own voter tabulations based on polling station data, but this process takes time. The opposition will want to gather solid evidence before presenting their challenge. However, if it prolongs, they may struggle to maintain public support.

SADC’s observer mission highlighted voting delays, restrictions on opposition rallies, and biased state media coverage as issues during the elections. Similarly, the European Union’s observer mission stated that these events occurred in an atmosphere of fear.

In response to the EU mission’s report, Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry summoned European ambassadors and accused them of making false claims and allegations.


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