On Wednesday, August 22, Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court in Harare will hold a hearing to examine the challenge to President Emmerson Mnangagwa's presidential election win. The challenge was filed by the political opposition on August 10, alleging that the results should be thrown out due to fraud. After deliberation, the Court can either confirm the results of the July 30 vote, announce a different victor, or call for fresh elections. Zimbabwean authorities have announced that a section of Samora Machel Avenue, between Sam Nujoma Street and Simon Muzenda Street, will be closed from 05:00 to 21:00 (local time) on August 22 while the hearing takes place. Despite the closure, protests and other disruptions remain possible near the court on and around Wednesday, and related gatherings are likely in Harare and other metropolitan areas in the coming days, especially following the announcement of the Court's decision. Outbreaks of violence are possible.
On August 3, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) declared incumbent President Mnangagwa winner of the July 30 presidential election. According to the results, Mnangagwa garnered 2.46 million votes, while runner-up Nelson Chamisa secured 2.15 million votes. However, Chamisa alleges that the election was invalidated by incidents of theft and fraud. On August 1, authorities deployed the army to disperse opposition protesters in Harare, with security forces firing live ammunition at demonstrators, killing at least six people.
The July 30 elections were the first in Zimbabwe since Robert Mugabe stepped down as president in November 2017 after 37 years in power.
Individuals in Zimbabwe, and especially in Harare, are advised to avoid all demonstrations and closely monitor the situation. Be prepared to shelter in place in case of further violence, which could flare up with little warning.
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