Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former ally of Robert Mugabe, narrowly won the country’s landmark election, results showed early Friday, in an outcome set to fuel fraud allegations as security forces patrolled the streets to prevent protests.
Mnangagwa won 50.8 percent of the vote, ahead of Nelson Chamisa of the opposition MDC party on 44.3 percent, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said.
“Mnangagwa, Emmerson Dambudzo, of ZANU-PF party is therefore duly declared elected president of the Republic of Zimbabwe,” announced ZEC chair Priscilla Chigumba.
Mnangagwa won by the smallest of margins, after needing more than 50 percent of the vote to secure victory without a second-round run-off.
He quickly took to Twitter to say he was “humbled” to have won the election, hailing it as a “new beginning” for the country.
Zimbabwe was braced for public reaction to the election results — the first since last year’s ousting of Mugabe — after a deadly crackdown on protesters.
Six people were killed on Wednesday when troops fired live rounds against MDC demonstrators alleging the vote had been rigged.
Soldiers and police cleared central Harare ahead of the results, shouting at pedestrians and traders to leave the area, as the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) repeatedly alleged that ZANU-PF was stealing the election.