, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 6 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has sent a congratulatory message to Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa for winning the country’s presidential election last week, the first since long-serving leader Robert Mugabe was ousted after 37 years in power.
Mnangagwa who took over in November last year following Mugabe’s removal in a joint effort between the ruling ZANU-PF and the military was declared the winner with 50.8 per cent of the vote against main Opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance who garnered 44.3 per cent of the vote.
In his congratulatory message, President Kenyatta pledged close partnership with Zimbabwe to strengthen development and economic stability in the continent.
“The mandate bestowed on you by the citizens of the Republic of Zimbabwe is a clear affirmation of their high regard and confidence in your able leadership,” he said in a statement on Monday.
“I look forward to continue working with Your Excellency to further deepen our bilateral relations in areas of shared interests for socio-economic benefit of our respective countries and peoples,” President Kenyatta assured.
He specifically pledged to work with Mnangagwa in the realisation of Africa’s Agenda 2063 that focuses on eradication of extreme poverty in the continent and improved healthcare.
“As you embark on a new mandate in Office, I wish you every success and reiterate Kenya’s commitment to close cooperation in pursuit of peace, economic development and stability on the Continent to ensure that the aspirations of Africa’s Agenda 2063 are realized,” he committed.
South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, sent his congratulatory note on Friday urging the Chamisa-led Opposition alliance to accept the outcome of the poll.
“Congratulations to His Excellency Emmerson Mnangagwa on his election as President of Zimbabwe. We urge the people of Zimbabwe to accept the outcome of the election or follow the legal route should they wish to challenge it. We look forward to great working relations with you,” Ramaphosa indicated.
Chamisa’s MDC Alliance has however remained adamant on their refusal to acknowledge Mnangagwa’s election insisting that the outcome the July 30 presidential was altered.
In a news conference at the capital Harare on Friday, Chamisa decried what he termed as intimidation of members of the public by the military as supporters allied top his party protested the election’s outcome.
Chamisa said his party will challenge the outcome of the election.
“Mr Mnangagwa did not win the election, we won the election. We have our tally which tally we’re ready to give to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). ZEC however misled our Chief Election Agent by saying they would carry out verification before announcing the results,” he said.
Chamisa urged supporters to remain calm as the party pursued constitutional means to reclaim its victory.
“We’re ready to form the next government subject of the process that we’re going to take to reclaim the will of the people expressed emphatically when they voted for MDC Alliance,” he said.
Chamisa singled out the inflation of voter turnout as a key tactic deployed to deny him his victory.
Prior to the Friday press briefing, anti-riot police in Harare had dispersed journalists assembled to cover Chamisa’s news conference saying the meeting was unlawful.
President Mnangagwa later condemned the attempts by the police terming them as retrogressive.
“The scenes today at the Bronte Hotel have no place in our society and we are urgently investigating the matter to understand exactly what happened. Over the past nine months we have protected freedom of speech, of assembly and the right to criticise the government,” he tweeted.
“This is an indispensable part of the new Zimbabwe. It is non-negotiable and will not change. We won the election freely and fairly and have nothing to hide or fear. Anyone is free to address the media at any time,” Mnangagwa stated.