HARARE: Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former ally of Robert Mugabe, narrowly won the country’s landmark election, results showed early Friday, in an outcome set to fuel fraud allegations as security forces patrolled the streets to prevent protests.
Mnangagwa won 50.8 percent of the vote, ahead of Nelson Chamisa of the opposition MDC party on 44.3 percent, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said.
“Mnangagwa, Emmerson Dambudzo, of ZANU-PF party is therefore duly declared elected president of the Republic of Zimbabwe,” announced ZEC chair Priscilla Chigumba.
Mnangagwa won by the smallest of margins, after needing more than 50 percent of the vote to secure victory without a second-round run-off.
He quickly took to Twitter to say he was “humbled” to have won the election, hailing it as a “new beginning” for the country.
“Though we may have been divided at the polls, we are united in our dreams. This is a new beginning,” he said.
Since independence from Britain in 1980, Zimbabwe has known only two presidents — Mugabe, who ruled with an iron fist for 37 years, and his erstwhile right-hand man Mnangagwa, who was appointed after Mugabe was forced out by the military in November last year.