Zimbabwe’s main opposition party has filed a legal challenge to the July 30 presidential election results, a move that puts a hold on the swearing-in of incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa, which was planned for Sunday.
Just before the close of business Friday, Movement for Democratic Change Alliance lawyers arrived at the Constitutional Court with legal papers challenging the declared victory of Mnangagwa in the July 30 election.
The opposition says the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission rigged the election for Mnangagwa and the ruling ZANU-PF party.
Lawyer Thabani Mpofu, said he was confident of having election results declared invalid and of opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa being declared the next president.
“Based on the evidence that we have placed before the court, the court must declare the proper winner,” he said. “And that proper winner is my client, [with] the alternative that be there another election which complies with the dictates of the constitution of Zimbabwe. There is no inauguration that is going to take place up until the matter has been resolved by the court.”
ZANU-PF and the electoral commission have three days to respond to the lawsuit, and the case is now expected to be heard by the full bench of the constitutional court within two weeks.
Meanwhile, Tendai Biti, an opposition leader who early this week fled to Zambia seeking asylum, was in court Friday challenging his deportation from Zambia and his subsequent arrest by Zimbabwean officials.
Biti told the court he feared for his life after security forces opened fire on protesters outside the electoral commission on August 1, two days after the election.
“I have had my house bombed on two occasions but nothing I have gone through in the last seven days or so compared to what has happened in the past,” he said. “It’s unprecedented — the levels of attack, the nature of the threat — and I have never felt so much threatened in my life.”
Biti is one of the several senior opposition officials whom police said they were looking for earlier this week, in connection with alleged election-related offenses. He is facing charges of public violence and announcing false election results. He is denying both charges.