Harare - Emmerson Mnangagwa has won Zimbabwe's presidential elections, the country's first since the army ousted Robert Mugabe last November.
The 75-year-old got 50.8% of the vote (2 460 463 votes) to trounce MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa who managed 44.3% (2 147 436 votes), a day after his party Zanu PF won a convincing two thirds majority in Parliament.
There were 23 candidates who contested the presidential poll.
The Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) announced the results on Thursday night into Friday morning after three days of tense waiting and violent clashes that left six people dead.
With nine out of ten provinces declared, the ZEC adjourned the results for more than an hour before releasing the result from the last province of Mashonaland West, a ZANU-PF stronghold. Before the final province's results, Mnangagwa had 2,147,505 votes to Chamisa's 1,929,704.
Minutes before Mnangagwa was declared the winner, the chairman of the MDC said on Friday the party rejected the results.
Morgen Komichi made the impromptu televised statement at the ZEC, where the results were being announced. He said the MDC could not verify the results before being removed by police.
Mnangagwa came to power via a soft coup d’etat last November and lifted much of the political repression which marked Mugabe’s 38 years in power.
Mugabe told journalists on the eve of the election he had never fully trusted Mnangagwa although the two men worked together for more then 40 years.
Mnangagwa was sacked as vice president last October and then fled to South Africa but returned home a hero and hundreds of thousands took to the streets to celebrate the end of Mugabe.
Chamisa, 40, came to the top job in the opposition after founding president Morgan Tsvangirai died in February.
On Wednesday, Chamisa accused the ruling ZANU-PF party of rigging the poll, although he offered no evidence.
Opposition supporters took to the streets to demonstrate and three were shot dead by soldiers amid clashes, with three others later succumbing to their injuries, according to police.
The government accused the MDC of inciting Wednesday's unrest and vowed to enforce a security clampdown.
On Thursday, police sealed off the headquarters of the MDC and later stormed the offices and arrested 16 people.
Troops cleared the streets of the capital, despite calls from foreign governments and international organisations for calm and for political leaders to show restraint.
It is not clear yet whether international observer will declare Zimbabwe’s peaceful elections credible.
Reuters and IOL