Zimbabwe: Opposition challenges election result in court

MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa

Zimbabwe's opposition coalition has filed a legal challenge to results of the country's recent election, in a move that delays the inauguration of Emmerson Mnangagwa as president of Zimbabwe.

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told Reuters Sunday's inauguration "will no longer happen" until the case is finalised.

However, the announcement by Ziyambi was made on Thursday, before Chamisa had officially challenged the result.

Instead, it has plunged into turmoil reminiscent of contested votes during Robert Mugabe's 37 years of rule until he was ousted by the military last November.

"We have a good case and cause!" he tweeted shortly after filing the challenge.

The MDC reported that its foreign lawyers had initially been denied entry into the Constitutional Court on work permit grounds. Mnangagwa's inauguration will take place 48 hours after the Constitutional Court announces its decision.

The party must prove that any irregularities were grave enough to change the outcome of the vote.

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The Constitutional Court, which can declare a new victor or order a fresh election, must rule within 14 days of an election petition.

Mr Mnangagwa has appealed for peace and promised an independent investigation into the post-election violence.

Last month, Mnangagwa secured a comfortable victory, according to results from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, polling 2.46 million votes against 2.15 million for the 40-year-old Chamisa. "They wanted to abduct me".

Diplomats and election observers were present at the court hearing in Harare after Biti fled to Zambia but was handed back to Zimbabwean police despite claiming asylum.

Zanu-PF secretary for finance Patrick Chinamasa earlier in the week revealed that the party has assembled a 12-man legal team to respond to the challenge.

At least six people were killed in violence that erupted after the vote as security forces clashed with and MDC supporters who alleged that Mr Chamisa had been robbed of victory.

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