Mnangagwa had been invited to the conference to pray for rain and also to celebrate their belated joint birthday.
Zimbabwe has been going through a political and economic crisis since its 30 July 2018 elections which Mnangagwa narrowly won. Although he beat his main rival Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance by more than 300 000 votes he only won 50.8 percent of the poll, enough for an outright victory. Twenty-three candidates were vying for the top post.
Under the Zimbabwe constitution one must win 50 percent of the total votes cast, plus one more vote, for an outright victory otherwise there has to be a run-off between the two leading candidates.
Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party, however, won more than two-thirds of the 210 contested Parliamentary seats.
The MDC Alliance rejected Mnangagwa’s victory arguing that its candidate won the elections but his vote was stolen by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which runs the country’s elections.
The party challenged the presidential election result at the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court, but lost after failing to produce the “overwhelming evidence” of its victory that it claimed it had.
The hearing was broadcast live to quash possible misrepresentation that could have emanated if this had not been an open court.
Despite this, the MDC Alliance insisted that its leader had won the elections and went on to inaugurate him as the “people’s president” on 27 October.
Its Members of Parliament also refused to recognise Mnangagwa as President and walked out when he presented the State of the Nation Address. They were kicked out of the House when they refused to rise to show respect for the President when Mnangagwa came to Parliament to listen to the presentation of the 2019 budget by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.
After his court victory Mnangagwa said that he was willing to work with the opposition but not in a government of national unity this time. He was planning to create an official post for the leader of the opposition as in countries like the United Kingdom.
Zimbabwe was governed by a government of national unity from 2009 to 2013 after the 2008 elections were disputed. Mnangagwa said he did not see any need for a government of national unity with a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
“In 1964 Harold Wilson of Britain beat the Conservatives by one seat and he formed the government and ruled England. I have a two-thirds majority and you are talking about me abandoning my two-thirds majority to form a government of national unity. Not that it’s a bad idea but it doesn’t show that there is any need,” Mnangagwa told Sky News.
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