Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday called for unity after being declared the winner of national elections.
However, the main opposition leader questioned the outcome and demanded that “proper and verified” results be released.
Mnangagwa won Zimbabwe’s presidential vote, beating opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa to reclaim a post that was long held by ousted leader Robert Mugabe.
“I do hereby declare that the votes received by Emmerson Mnangagwa are more than half the votes,” the chairperson of the electoral commission (ZEC), Priscilla Chigumba, said.
Mnangagwa got 50.8 per cent of the vote while Chamisa got 44.3 per cent.
Chamisa has alleged voter fraud and threatened not to accept a loss.
Zimbabweans voted Monday in their first elections without Mugabe on the ballot since the country became independent in 1980.
The 94-year-old was ousted in a bloodless military coup in November and replaced by one-time ally Mnangagwa.
The election, the first since the army removed 94-year-old Robert Mugabe from office in November, passed off relatively smoothly.
But its aftermath, in which six people were killed in an army crackdown on opposition protests, revealed the deep rifts in Zimbabwean society that developed during Mugabe’s decades in power and the instinctive heavy-handedness of the security forces.
“This is a new beginning. Let us join hands, in peace, unity & love, & together build a new Zimbabwe for all,” former spy chief Mnangagwa said on Twitter, a day after securing a comfortable victory over Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Nelson Chamisa.
Chamisa said the electoral commission should release “proper and verified” results of the ballot.
“I thought the force of will would prevail over (the) will of force,” he said in a tweet, without elaborating.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, who also chairs the Southern African Development Community, urged all Zimbabweans to accept the poll results.
The streets of Zimbabwe’s capital Harare were quiet early on Friday, with traffic thinner than usual but water cannon and anti-riot police remained outside the MDC offices.