Court declares Mnangagwa president of Zimbabwe

Emmerson Mnangagwa speaks during the Defence Forces Day celebrations held at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on August 14, 2018. AFP

Zimbabwe's top court on Friday dismissed an opposition bid to have presidential election results annulled over alleged rigging in favour of Robert Mugabe's successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

"In the final analysis, the court finds the applicant has failed to place before it clear, direct, sufficient and credible evidence" of irregularities, said Chief Justice Luke Malaba in his ruling at the Constitutional Court in Harare.

"Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is duly declared winner of presidential elections held on the 30th of July 2018."

Analysts had widely predicted the court would rule against the Movement for Democratic Change party's legal challenge.

Malaba dismissed the application with costs after strongly criticising the MDC's case.

Mnangagwa, of the ruling ZANU-PF party, won the election with 50.8% of the vote -- just enough to meet the 50% threshold needed to avoid a run-off against MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, who scored 44.3%.

Lawyers for the MDC had argued on Wednesday that the results should be annulled due to alleged "massive doctoring" of the vote.

Thembinkosi Magwaliba, representing Mnangagwa, had rubbished claims that the opposition had produced any evidence of fraud.

"This application was not seriously done. The applicant is clearly flippant," he said.

Mnangagwa's inauguration should now take place within 48 hours of the court's ruling, according to the constitution. 

Nine judges, led by Chief Justice Malaba, delivered the unanimous verdict at the court in Harare, amid tight security though there were no protests ahead of the ruling.

In a first for the country, the proceedings were broadcast live on state television.

Mnangagwa, who has vowed to revive Zimbabwe's ruined economy, had hoped the elections would draw a line under Mugabe's repressive 37-year rule and open up a stream of foreign investment and aid.

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Court declares Mnangagwa president of Zimbabwe

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