President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: Themba Hadebe / POOL / AFP

President Cyril Ramaphosa will attend the inauguration of Emmerson Mnangagwa as president of Zimbabwe on Sunday.

Ramaphosa will be accompanied by Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, the presidency said in a statement.

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court confirmed Mnangagwa’s disputed election victory on Friday, dismissing an opposition challenge that had held up his inauguration. 

In a verdict widely predicted by analysts, Chief Justice Luke Malaba strongly criticised the MDC party’s case and upheld Mnangagwa’s win. Mnangagwa, of the ruling ZANU-PF party, won the July 30 election with 50.8% of the vote — just enough to meet the 50% threshold needed to avoid a run-off against main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, who scored 44.3%.

The elections were largely judged to be free of the violence which characterised previous elections in Zimbabwe.

However, Chamisa on Saturday refused to accept a court ruling, vowing to lead “peaceful protests“. 

“I have a legitimate claim that I am supposed to lead the people of Zimbabwe,” the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party said Saturday. “Yes, judgement has been made but as far as we are concerned, we have a view that is contrary to the view of the Constitutional Court,” Chamisa said. “The court’s decision is not the people’s decision. The people who voted do not believe in (Mnangagwa). We have got a clear majority.”

Mnangagwa took over from Robert Mugabe after the long-time ruler was ousted following a brief military takeover in November 2017. He vowed to hold free and fair elections and mend strained relations with the west but his plan was marred when soldiers fired at protesters on August 1 killing at least six people.

Mnangagwa now faces the challenge of persuading the international community that the army crackdown and lapses in the election process will not derail his promise of reforms to overcome corruption and mismanagement under Mugabe.


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