FEAR and uncertainty now grips the country following the declaration of incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa as winner of the 2018 elections, the first such plebiscite since the ouster of long serving leader Robert Mugabe November last year.
Mnangagwa upstaged his main challenger Nelson Chamisa of MDC Alliance with a 6-point margin after he got 50,8 percent of the national vote, compared to the latter’s 44,3%.
A total of 2 460 463 people voted for the now President designate while 2 147 436 voted his rival.
Fears abound the country could deepen its protracted political and economic crisis which has seen the country remain polarised for nearly two decades.
Drama was witnessed during results announcement Friday morning when MDC-T national chair Morgen Komichi stormed the results announcement centre at Rainbow Towers and dismissed the official results that had been announced moments before by ZEC, describing them as a doctored outcome.
There are strong fears the fresh acrimony brought into the country by its controversial circle of elections could plunge Zimbabwe into fresh violence in the immediate or worse, restore the political deadlock that saw the country endure more than a decade of international isolation for poll fraud and rights abuses.
Six people were killed on Wednesday while over a dozen were injured when the army was deployed into central Harare to quell riotous protests by MDC Alliance followers.
University of Zimbabwe political science professor, Charity Manyeruke said Friday that the electoral process and outcome was fair and Mnangagwa was genuinely declared winner.
“He is the genuine winner of this election. The MDC won in its traditional strongholds such as Harare and Bulawayo,” she told the media at Rainbow Towers soon after the Zanu PF leader had been declared winner.
Similarly, Linda Masarira of the MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe was adamant the country should move forward and resist the temptation of being bogged down by disputed polls.
“I would like to congratulate Mr Mnangagwa for winning this election…we need to move forward as a country. The election has been held and results declared and we should accept the outcome” said the MDC-T spokesperson.
But there was a strong outpouring of anger among Zimbabweans local and abroad who felt Chamisa was denied a clear victory by both ZEC and Zanu PF.
“It’s a dark day,” read a social media comment from a Zimbabwean based in the United Kingdom.
“Zanu PF will remain Zanu PF. It will never stop manipulating elections.”
The MDC Alliance is this Friday expected to announce its own set of results that place its 40-year-old leader as winner.
Chamisa told local and international media before results were announced on Thursday that approaching Zimbabwean courts was a waste of time as local judges were compromised.
Days ahead of the poll, he has been telling his followers to “defend their vote”, something authorities have interpreted to mean it was an incitement to violence.
Observers have warned Mnangagwa to exercise leadership and try to manage the volatile situation which has potential to reverse the relative stability witnessed in the country since November 2017.