PRESIDENT-ELECT Emmerson Mnangagwa has called on Zimbabweans to put the just-ended disputed elections behind them and move to rebuild the economy, unite the divided people and maintain peace throughout the country.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Mnangagwa was addressing thousands of people, among them police, soldiers and Zanu PF supporters, who thronged the National Heroes Acre to commemorate Heroes Day.
“It’s now time to put the election period behind us and embrace the future. The task facing us today is a great one. Let us unite as Zimbabweans, revive our economy and rebuild our great nation, the land of our dreams, the land of immense possibilities,” he said.
Mnangagwa, who controversially won the presidential elections after polling 50,8% of the vote, pipping his main challenger Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance who garnered 44,3% of the vote, repeated his claim the elections were free, fair and credible.
“On 30th of July 2018, you stood and spoke loudly and clearly. You showed the world that not only could we all campaign in a spirit of peace and tolerance, with parties free to campaign whenever, wherever and, however, they saw fit, we equally demonstrated that we could also hold free and fair elections,” he said.
He said the only blemish on the polls was caused by the MDC Alliance which fronted demonstrations that led to the death of seven innocent people.
“We, however, condemn the MDC Alliance-inspired violence post our free and fair elections, it resulted in the death of innocent citizens. May their souls rest in eternal peace,” he said.
Chamisa has since filed a Constitutional Court challenge seeking to nullify Mnangagwa’s victory, claiming the elections were rigged.
Chamisa, who did not attend the Heroes celebrations, said he could not, in good conscience, join people who “stole the people’s vote”.
“Today, my conscience has not allowed me to go out to dine and wine with those that have sought to hijack the freedom and independence we inherited from our fallen heroes and subjected the whole nation to untold suffering and hardship for personal gain,” Chamisa said.
He said the country was currently in a period of mourning over what he said were clear intentions of subverting the will of the people.
“In fact, we are still in a period of mourning, in the month of our heroes we have been thrown back to the dark days of colonial brutality and subjugation.
“Not only did the white minority colonial rule deny citizens their right to vote, it also killed in cold blood any protesting vote,” he said.