As life slowly returns to normal in Zimbabwe’s capital, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the winner of a hotly-contested presidential election, prepares to take charge of a politically divided nation facing a prolonged and severe economic crisis.
Addressing these major problems is the most urgent task now facing his soon-to-be sworn-in administration.
A former vice president, 75-year-old Mnangagwa first took office in November following a military intervention that put an end to the near four-decade rule of his mentor, Robert Mugabe.
On Thursday, Mnangagwa was declared the winner of the July 30 poll, narrowly securing an outright majority with 50.8 percent amid opposition cries of foul play.
Nelson Chamisa, leader of the opposition MDC Alliance who came in second with 44 percent, dismissed the results as a “coup against the will” of Zimbabweans. Claiming he was the winner, he said on Friday he is prepared to take legal action.
Two days earlier, discontent following the announcement of the parliamentary election results, which saw Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF winning a clear majority, had led opposition supporters to take to the streets of central Harare, claiming the vote was rigged.
At least six demoonstrators were killed on Wednesday in clashes with security forces, while 21 opposition supporters were detained and are expected to appear in bail court on Monday.
The violence prompted most people in Harare to stay indoors before the release of the presidential election results.