Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader said Saturday he respectfully rejects the court ruling upholding the president’s narrow election win and called the inauguration set for Sunday “false,” while U.S.-based election observers said the country does not yet have a “tolerant, democratic” voting culture. Nelson Chamisa spoke a day after the Constitutional Court unanimously rejected the opposition’s claims of vote-rigging in favor of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, saying it did not bring “sufficient and credible evidence.” Chamisa said “we have the right to peaceful protest” and that other routes will be pursued. “Change is coming,” he said. “Political doors are going to be opened very soon.” He gave no details. Last month’s peaceful election was seen as a chance for Zimbabwe to move on from Robert Mugabe’s repressive 37-year-rule. Now Chamisa alleges “a new persecution” after a deadly crackdown on the opposition.
The 40-year-old opposition leader again said he won the election and that the southern African nation needs fundamental reforms that cannot be resolved by five more years of “vacant leadership.”
The 75-year-old Mnangagwa, a former Mugabe enforcer who has tried to restyle himself as a reformer, appealed for calm after the court ruling and in a Twitter post told Chamisa “my door is open and my arms are outstretched.”