Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says its leader Nelson Chamisa will be symbolically inaugurated on Saturday as the “People’s President,” in spite of the fact he lost the July election.
The winner, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has already been sworn in, after a court found no evidence of vote rigging as alleged by the MDC after the election.
“Chamisa was voted for by the people and the inauguration is just a ceremony to declare him the people’s president,” Thabitha Khumalo, spokesperson of the opposition party, told dpa on Monday.
She said the process was legal since the constitution provides for a shadow cabinet of the opposition party.
However, Zimbabwe’s justice minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi told dpa that the planned inauguration was “illegal and the long arm of the law will take its course.”
“President Mnangagwa won the election, and inauguration was done,” he said.
Mr Chamisa announced the “inauguration” while addressing his supporters over the weekend.
“Next week, the MDC family will celebrate its 19th Anniversary. As a party, we sat down and discussed the issue on election theft,” he was quoted as saying by local media.
“The leadership is saying that the person who was voted for by the people should be inaugurated by the people.”
The contentious July 30 vote was the first one in 37 years without former president, Robert Mugabe on the ballot. Mugabe was ousted by a coup that bought Mr Mnangagwa to power in November.
If the MDC’s plan goes ahead, it will be the second faux-presidential inauguration in Africa this year, after Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga held a “swearing-in ceremony” in January after losing elections.