By Jeffrey Moyo
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AA) – Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party filed a legal challenge Friday at the Constitutional Court over the results of the presidential election, claiming it had been rigged to ensure President Emerson Mnangagwa’s victory.
“Our legal team successfully filed our court papers. We have a good case and cause!!” MDC president Nelson Chamisa said on Twitter shortly after lawyers for the party filed the appeal.
The move comes a week after the results of the hotly contested election were announced. The MDC had seven days to file an appeal according to Zimbabwe’s electoral laws.
As a result, the inauguration of the country’s new president will be put on hold as the court reviews the filing over the next two weeks.
Zimbabwe went to the polls on July 30. Protests broke out soon after as the opposition accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of presiding over polls fraught with voter irregularities and plotting to rig the polls in favor of Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu-PF party.
Police and the country’s military cracked down on the protesters, leading to six people being shot dead, which immediately sparked an outcry over the government’s heavy-handedness in dealing with the demonstrations.
Nevertheless, Mnangagwa, the Zanu-PF party presidential candidate, was declared winner of the polls.
Zimbabwe’s post-election period has been marred by intimidation of opposition leaders, with the latest case being the arrest of Tendai Biti, an MDC leader who had recently attempted to seek asylum in Zambia before his application was rejected, leading to his deportation back to Zimbabwe.
Biti was charged with public violence and infringing on the country’s electoral act when he unofficially announced the results of the just ended elections.
“The presidential election was not conducted in terms of expected standards. The announcement made by ZEC chairperson Priscilla Chigumba was faulty, null and void at law,” said Thabani Mpofu, a lawyer representing the MDC, soon after the filing of the party’s legal challenge.