Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in for a second and final term after being declared the winner of last month’s elections that international observers said were deeply flawed and the opposition rejected as a sham.
Mnangagwa, who turns 81 next week, took the oath of office at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, the capital, on Monday after being sworn in by Chief Justice Luke Malaba. The presidents of Mozambique, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo were among those who attended the ceremony, while Nigeria sent its deputy.
Mnangagwa has held power since long-time ruler Robert Mugabe was toppled in a military-backed coup in 2017. His tenure has been marred by a series of economic crises, the near-collapse of government services, runaway inflation and widespread poverty and unemployment.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said on Aug. 26 that official results showed Mnangagwa won 52.6% of the votes cast and the ruling Zimbabwe National Union Patriotic Front secured 136 seats in the 210-seat National Assembly. The Citizens Coalition for Change, led by lawyer Nelson Chamisa, said the contest was tainted by numerous irregularities and called for a rerun.
Any legal challenge to the outcome has to be filed within seven days of the results being announced. The CCC hasn’t filed a lawsuit so far.
The opposition has failed in several previous bids to have disputed election outcomes overturned by the courts, including one that Chamisa filed to reverse Mnangagwa’s previous victory in 2018.
Not all Mnangagwa’s peers have openly supported his reelection. Zambian leader Hakainde Hichilema , dispatched his foreign minister to represent him at the inauguration and instead opted to clean a jail cell when he was once imprisoned.