Zim elections: China congratulates President-elect Mnangagwa, insists it won’t get involved in internal disputes

Zimbabwe’s President-elect Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their previous meeting in Beijing, China. File Picture: Liu Zhen/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Zimbabwe’s President-elect Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their previous meeting in Beijing, China. File Picture: Liu Zhen/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Published Aug 29, 2023


The People’s Republic of China has congratulated Zimbabwe’s President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa after he was declared the winner in the tightly-contested harmonised elections held last week.

Spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang Wenbin said China had an observer mission in Zimbabwe which monitored the elections held on Wednesday and Thursday.

“As a friend of Zimbabwe, China has been closely following the general elections in the country. At Zimbabwe’s invitation, China sent an observer mission there,” said Wang in a statement posted on the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe’s X page.

“The mission believes that the elections were held in a peaceful and orderly fashion with active participation by the people. We have noted the result released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and extend congratulations to President Mnangagwa.

— Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe (@ChineseZimbabwe) August 28, 2023

“We stand ready to work with the new government to bring our two countries’ comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to new heights,” he said.

The Chinese diplomat said Beijing has noted the disputes being raised around the election results.

“We have noticed reports on some disputing the election result. It is our hope that parties in Zimbabwe will put the people’s interests first and resolve differences properly through legal means.

“China adheres to the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs. We respect the Zimbabwe people’s choice, wish the country continued stability after the election and greater progress in pursuing national development and prosperity,” said Wang.

Observers representing the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other international observers have criticised the polls, saying the elections were not held to the standards required.

Opposition leader for the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Nelson Chamisa. Picture: JOHN WESSELS / AFP

Leader of Zimbabwe’s main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Nelson Chamisa, said he was surprised when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the winner of the recent harmonised elections.

On Saturday night, chairperson of ZEC Priscilla Makanyara Chigumba announced that Mnangagwa had retained the presidency by a 52.6% margin.

A total 11 candidates were vying for the State House in Zimbabwe.

Reacting to the election results announcement, Chamisa insisted he had defeated Mnangagwa.

“What are the next steps, what should the nation expect? There is going to be change in Zimbabwe,” Chamisa addressed local and international journalists in Harare.

Despite Chamisa’s protests, some leaders in Africa and beyond have sent congratulatory messages to Mnangagwa after the announcement of the poll results.

On Sunday, the Namibian President Hage Geingob was one of the first regional leaders to congratulate Mnangagwa, describing the elections as “peaceful”.

“On behalf of the people and government of the Republic of Namibia, President Hage G. Geingob extended (on Sunday) 27 August 2023 warm congratulations to the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Comrade Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa,” Geingob's spokesperson, Dr Alfredo Hengari said in a statement.

“President Geingob also extended through President Mnangagwa fraternal felicitations to Zanu-PF, the sister party of SWAPO (the South West Africa People's Organisation), on the victory in the peaceful harmonised elections held on August 23,” he said.

“President Geingob further said that the the re-election of His Excellency Comrade Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa was indeed a testimony of the trust and confidence in which the people of Zimbabwe continue to repose in President Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF.

“President Geingob wished President Mnangagwa good strength and wisdom in carrying out his renewed mandate and looked forward to working closely with President Mnangagwa to further deepen and strengthen our bilateral cooperation as well as advancing the shared regional development agenda,” said Hengari.

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan has also sent a congratulatory message to Mnangagwa.

On Monday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa joined the leaders who have congratulated Mnangagwa on his re-election.

In his message, Ramaphosa said he was aware of the problems associated with the elections and hoped that all the parties in Zimbabwe would find a solution.

“South Africa is conscious that these elections took place under a difficult economic environment due to the burdening sanctions which the people of Zimbabwe continue to unjustly endure.

President Cyril Ramaphosa with President-elect of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa. File Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

“Furthermore, South Africa has taken note of the preliminary pronouncements by the invited International Observers Missions including the African Union (AU) and the South African Development Community Observer Missions.

“South Africa calls on all the parties in Zimbabwe to work in unison in sustaining peace and work towards development and shared prosperity in the country,” said Ramaphosa.