Emmerson Mnangagwa Wins Zimbabwe's Presidential Election

Aug 3, 2018
Originally published on August 3, 2018 7:07 am
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In Zimbabwe, after a presidential election followed by protests and a deadly crackdown by security forces, a winner has now been declared. The country's electoral commission pronounced Emmerson Mnangagwa the victor. He is the 75-year-old who seized power from his boss, longtime ruler Robert Mugabe. And then he took over the party. His victory means the ruling party continues its near four-decade lock on power. But the younger opposition leader is not going without a fight.

We're joined now by Eyder Peralta, NPR's correspondent in Zimbabwe. Eyder, you are in Harare covering this election and the fallout. A winner has been declared now after a delayed vote count. Are people happy about the response, to at least have it over?

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: It's been really, really quiet here in Harare today. The military's still on the streets. Police are still patrolling. Some of the stores are open. But people are still very quiet. But then, you know, everyone was sort of expecting the opposition leader to say something, and it turned chaotic once again. This time, the media were part of the story. You know, we were called to a local hotel for a press conference. Everybody set up. And then, suddenly, a big truck full of police in riot gear pulls up. And let's listen to a bit of what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Everyone out. Everyone out. Everyone out. Everyone out. Out. Out. Out.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: We live here. We're not leaving. We live here.

PERALTA: So they were using their shields to bang on them, and they were telling us to get out. And, you know, most of us just stood there and pointed our microphones at them and, you know, kept our cameras on them. And then they sort of just left.

MARTIN: So that was disrupted, but then it went on. Needless to say, though, even though a winner has been declared, the opposition leader, Chamisa, is not conceding. What does he say he's going to do?

PERALTA: He says he is going to fight. And, you know, these were his words.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NELSON CHAMISA: We are not accepting this fiction. We want a proper result to be announced. We will pursue all means necessary, legal and constitutional.

PERALTA: Legal and Constitutional. So two things about those two words he says there. He did now open the door to go to court, which he had said he was not going to do. But that last word, constitutional, means that he will use the right of assembly and the right to protest. And, of course, here in this country, protests can often become violent and deadly, as they did on Wednesday.

Now, he didn't - he did, you know, he kept saying that this was rigged, that these elections were rigged, but he didn't provide much proof of it. He just says that the government results do not add up.

MARTIN: What is Mnangagwa saying, the president?

PERALTA: He's saying that what happened today at the presser, that there's no place in our society. And right now, he's just giving a speech right now in which he said that he will order a commission to investigate the killings that happened on Wednesday.

MARTIN: NPR's Eyder Peralta in Harare, Zimbabwe, covering the elections and the aftermath. Thanks so much, Eyder. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.