Zimbabwe opposition mounts legal challenge against election result

Zimbabwean opposition official Tendai Biti

"The inauguration is no longer going ahead (on Sunday) as planned", Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told AFP.

Zimbabwe's constitution allows a presidential candidate to legally challenge electoral results within seven days of a victor being declared.

In the petition - filed shortly before the expiry of the seven-day period - Mr Chamisa alleged electoral fraud and malpractices during the elections in which Zanu-PF romped to victory, claiming two-thirds parliamentary majority with President Mnangagwa taking a 6.5 percent lead.

The opposition party has demanded either fresh elections or the instalment of their candidate, Nelson Chamisa, as president. The opposition said the result was rigged.

"Our legal team successfully filed our court papers".

Chamisa came second to Mnangagwa in a closely fought presidential election which saw him emerge with a 44,3 percent of the national vote while Mnangagwa got 50,8 percent.

"We have a good case and cause!" he tweeted shortly after filing the challenge.

Analysts say that the legal challenge has little chance of success given the courts' historic tilt towards ZANU-PF, which has ruled since independence from British colonial rule in 1980.

The legal team include Zanu-PF Secretary for Legal Affairs, Paul Mangwana, a veteran lawyer. "We are seeking a declaration to the effect that the presidential election was not properly conducted", MDC party lawyer Thanbani Mpofu said.

On August 1, soldiers opened fire on MDC protesters, killing six people and sparking an worldwide outcry.

Mr Biti is the first senior opposition politician to be detained since Mr Mnangagwa took over from Mr Mugabe.

On Thursday, opposition figure Tendai Biti was detained by Zimbabwean police after Zambian authorities rejected his bid for asylum.

Mnangagwa wrote on Twitter that Biti was released after he intervened personally in the case.

Mnangagwa secured a comfortable victory in last month's vote, according to results from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, polling 2.46 million votes against 2.15 million for the 40-year-old Chamisa.

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