The 2018 Presidential election was held on the 30th of July 2018.23 presidential candidates contested for the top Presidential post. For the first time in Zimbabwe’s history, the country had an overwhelming number of Presidential candidates. [1]

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced the results of who won the 30th July 2018 Zimbabwean presidential election at about 00.40 AM on 3rd of August 2018.ZEC chairperson Priscilla Chigumba announced that voter turnout was high.

Emmerson Mnangagwa won the election with just over 50 percent of the ballots as the ZANU-PF party maintained control of the government in the first vote since the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe.[2].Nelson Chamisa presidential candidate for the MDC Alliance dismissed what he called the "unverified fake results" of the election which he claimed handed victory to Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Post election environment

Post Election Violence in 2018 trigered a hostile environment in the country.

The election Outcome

The election was highly contested between Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ZANU-PF party who received 2,460,463 votes, constituting 50.8% of the total.[3]. and Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance who received 2,147,436 votes, constituting 44.3% of the total.[4].

Response to the outcome

The election results were received differently across Zimbabwe and among the political parties and candidates who participated in the watershed election.

Morgan Komichi and [[Nkululeko Sibanda

Morgan Komichi and Nkululeko Sibanda from the MDC-Alliance appeared to hijack the stage at the election command center in Harare and said they were rejecting the results because they had not been verified by party agents. They claimed the results were fake.

MDC Alliance rejects election results

Nelson Chamisa

Chamisa called the results “fake” and said the electoral commission should release “proper and verified” numbers. “The level of opaqueness, truth deficiency, moral decay & values deficit is baffling,” he said on Twitter.[5]

Chamisa also held a presser at the Bronte hotel in Harare and claimed that he had sufficient evidence to overturn or challenge the 0.8 margin that made ZEC chairperson Chigumba declare Mnangagwa as the winner and President-elect. Chamisa alleged that the MDC Alliance had conducted a parrel tally of the votes using data harvested for V11 forms from across the over 10 000 polling stations and their tally did not corroborate with the ZEC tally which gave Mnangagwa victory. Chamisa further alleges that the police raided his party’s headquarters in Harare and seized computers, while the ZRP said 18 people in the offices were arrested in connection with the post-election violence that occurred in Harare.[6]

Chamisa alleged that police were looking for what he called evidence of vote-rigging, but he says the evidence already had been moved to a safe house. During the presser Chamisa also claimed that he had won by a 56% margin and that Mnangagwa had garnered 46 %, Chamisa's claims contradicted with ZEC's position and that of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) whose tallying revealed a 50.8% result in favor of the incumbent Mnangagwa. Chamisa also claimed that ZEC rigged the votes particularly in Harare by deflating his votes by 20 000 and inflating Mnangagwa's Harare vote by the same figure of 20 000.

Chamisa vowed to pursue the legal route and was confident of victory in that path as he claimed to have the best legal brains in Africa South of the Limpopo.

MDC Alliance’s Nelson Chamisa declares himself winner of Zimbabwe elections

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Mnangagwa said people are free to approach the courts if they have issues with the results of July 30, 2018's election, which he carried with just over 50 percent of the vote. President Emmerson Mnangagwa spoke to journalists shortly after Nelson Chamisa called the election results manipulated and said they would be challenged in court. Chamisa received 44 percent of the vote but says his supporters' own count gave him 56 percent.[7]

Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses media

Joyce Mujuru

People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC) presidential candidate Joice Mujuru said she concedes defeat after attaining 0,1% of the national vote in Monday’s election while none of her candidates won a parliamentary or council seat.[8] Mujuru also said:

Our elections were not fair in as far as our fourteen reforms demands were not met by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. These demands would have addressed our concerns on traditional leaders, abuse of state resources and other issues thereof. We, however, recognize and accept the choice of the people of Zimbabwe. We congratulate those who have been elected as Councillors, Members of Parliament, Provincial Councils and Senate. We concede defeat according to the results announced by ZEC and congratulate Zanu PF on winning these elections. We urge peace and restraint among Zimbabweans and remain committed to working with others towards a Zimbabwe We Want.

Noah Manyika

Build Zimbabwe Alliance (BZA) presidential candidate Noah Manyika also conceded defeat. He urged Zimbabweans to pray for the Lord to touch the hearts of those who will lead the country for the next five years so Zimbabweans can have the relief they are due. Manyika also said:

I want to take this time to thank all of you for being on this journey with me. All the results are in, and the outcome is not what we desired. I wrote in an earlier message that the light of our faith and our character will shine brightest in the darkness of disappointment. That will only happen if this was not just about winning an election. If it was, then our motives would be questionable, and we would not be the leaders God wants for this nation.


Lovemore Madhuku

Leader of the opposition National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) party Professor Lovemore Madhuku who garnered only 2 739 votes in the presidential election conceded defeat to Emmerson Mnangagwa. Madhuku, whose tally was 0.1 percent of the votes cast urged other political parties to accept the results saying that he did not believe that there was any rigging by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec). Madhuku also said:

As NCA and their presidential candidate, I accept the outcome of the presidential results. We have no issues with the results, and I also believe that all presidential candidates were voted by the numbers announced. I don’t believe candidates should choose which results to accept and which results not to accept. Why should ZEC only rig the presidential election, and not of all candidates but just one? We need to accept the outcome and move forward as a country As NCA and their presidential candidate, I accept the outcome of the presidential results. We have no issues with the results, and I also believe that all presidential candidates were voted by the numbers announced. I don’t believe candidates should choose which results to accept and which results not to accept. Why should ZEC only rig the presidential election, and not of all candidates but just one? We need to accept the outcome and move forward as a country

Justice Johann Kriegler

The former head of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), retired Justice Johann Kriegler, said there was no reason to doubt ZImbabwe’s electoral results because of Zanu-PF’s pervasive influence. Speaking to a South African publication, The Citizen, Kriegler said,

Only an idiot would rig the election on election day .....I don’t think the result is at all surprising considering the stranglehold Zanu-PF has had on the country during its administration and rule of communities in particular. The fact that the MDC presidential candidate received more than 44% of the vote is remarkably good. It’s how you’ve kept the voters’ roll over the years. You have complete control over the media as the ruling party; you have complete control of newsworthiness, such as the opening of schools, bridges and roads, maintenance and support systems for the elderly and the needy…I think there is no reason to doubt the result is genuine.


ZANU PF supporters

Zanu PF supporters celebrating incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa's win soon after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced results of the poll.

Mnangagwa supporters celebrate Zimbabwe election result

MDC Alliance supporters

MDC Alliance supporters supported their leader Nelson Chamisa's clarion call that the election was rigged in favor of ZANU-PF. The MDC's supporters were in solidarity with their party leadership's stance.

Potential legal Outcomes of the MDC Alliance electoral outcome challenge

The MDC Alliance,s dispute over the results blocked the inauguration of presidential elect Emmerson Mnangagwa pending finalization of the matter before the courts. This was buttressed by Mnangagwa in his Press conference on August 4, 2018, where he stated he could not do anything until he is sworn in because he is the President-Elect only. The MDC Alliance had a 7 day window period to file their complaint at the Courts. According to the constitution of Zimbabwe, a court challenge against a presidential election must be done or lodged at the constitutional court with 7 days after the declaration of the results. The constitutional court must hear and determine the petition or application within 14 days after the petition was lodged.[11]

In determining the petition the court may declare a winner or invalidate the election in which case a fresh election must be held within 60 days after the determination or make any other order it considers just and appropriate. If the Court upholds the election the declared winner has to be sworn in within 48 hours of the court's decision.