Zimbabwean Oxford scholar Philani Zamchiya, now a research fellow at the University of the Western Cape, says there were “glaring irregularities” in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 2018 disputed election victory despite the controversial Constitutional Court ruling in his favour.

In his study, Inside Competitive Electoral Authoritarian in Zimbabwe, 2008-2018: The Oxford Handbook of Zimbabwean Politics, Zamchiya, who holds a PhD in international development studies, says despite the court ruling there was a clear case of electoral fraud in the petition.

“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), a statutory body mandated to run elections, went on to announce on 3 August 2018 that Mnangagwa had received 2 460 463 votes (50.8%) and declared him the winner.

“However, there were a number of discrepancies in the ZEC’s own counting, as it admitted (Chigumba 2018), while international observers came up with different numbers (EU EOM 2018: 37).

Nelson Chamisa, the MDC’s presidential candidate and successor to Morgan Tsvangirai, lodged an application to challenge the validity of the presidential election at the Constitutional Court (CC) on 10 August 2018.

“The combination of visible statistical errors, the 1 August 2018 killings, and the constitutional challenge further called into question the legitimacy of the electoral process.

“Mnangagwa responded by rapidly appointing a commission of inquiry into the 1 August killings, chaired by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, and including international, regional, and local experts.

“…In rural areas in the 2013 and 2018 elections, the military, war veterans, and ZANU PF activists threatened citizens with violence. In doing so, they drew on the memories of the liberation war and the electoral violence of 2008. This was a form of psychological warfare.”

Zamchiya says the ConCourt and ZEC colluded to ignore Chamisa’s case and his evidence, while refusing to cooperate in availing important documents and information that would show voter manipulation and fraud.

He says they were obstructive and uncooperative to frustrate the case.