Zimbabwe presidential inauguration delayed amid court challenge

Zimbabwean opposition official Tendai Biti

Zimbabwean opposition official Tendai Biti

But the legal challenge to his victory is likely to delay his inauguration that was scheduled to take place on Sunday.

We call on Zimbabwe's leaders to guarantee Mr. Biti's physical safety and ensure his constitutional and human rights are respected, consistent with the rule of law and Zimbabwe's worldwide obligations and commitments.

The MDC accuses Mr Mnangagwa's ruling ZANU-PF party of rigging the vote, the first poll since long-time president Robert Mugabe was ousted in November.

"The MDC alliance say some of the evidence they have shows forms that have been tampered with, figures changed here and there - and they're going to present that in court", said Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare.

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

Mnangagwa, who is seeking to reverse Zimbabwe's economic isolation and attract desperately-needed foreign investment, had vowed the elections would be free and fair, and would turn a page on Mugabe's repressive 37-year rule.

MDC must prove that any polling irregularities were widespread enough to change the outcome of the vote.

The conduct of the election was largely deemed sound by global monitors, but representatives of the European Union noted Mnangagwa benefited from an "un-level playing field" and some voter intimidation.

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The party is demanding either fresh elections or the instalment of their candidate Nelson Chamisa as president.

"In the alternative, we seek that there be another election which complies with the dictates of the law", Mpofu said.

The aftermath of the election has been marred by allegations of a crackdown on opposition members, including beatings and arrests. Six died after soldiers opened fire on the protesters in a response the opposition alliance called "disproportionate and unjustified".

"Zimbabwe faces a awful threat from a group of people that has no respect for the law", Biti, who was granted bail Thursday, told the court.

The results of the presidential election were announced on Friday last week by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

It said it had received numerous complaints of "hunting down" and intimidation, often by men in military uniform, of voters thought to have backed the opposition.

On August 1, clashes broke out between security forces and opposition supporters.

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