Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called Emmerson Mnangagwa to congratulate him on being elected president of Zimbabwe, while China has called on all sides to respect the election results.

Ramaphosa appealed to political leaders and citizens of Zimbabwe to accept the outcome of the election.

The MDC has been vocal in its criticism of the poll, and leader Nelson Chamisa tweeted on Friday that the results were fake. "The ZEC scandal of releasing unverified fake results is regrettable," he said. The ZEC should release "proper and verified" results, he said.

"I thought the force of will would prevail over (the) will of force," he tweeted, without elaborating.

Ramaphosa, who is the current chairman of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), urged Zimbabweans to follow legal remedies provided for in the constitution and electoral law to resolve any challenges‚ according to a statement issued by the Presidency early on Friday.

Although Monday’s election was declared peaceful by the Sadc election observation mission and other election observer missions‚ Ramaphosa expressed concern about the post-election violence on Wednesday that resulted in the deaths of six people in Zimbabwe.

"President Ramaphosa concluded his phone call by expressing his commitment to working closely with the president-elect‚ Mr Mnangagwa‚ to enhance the historical‚ political and fraternal relations which exist between SA and Zimbabwe‚ with particular emphasis on strengthening economic co-operation in priority areas as mutually identified by the two countries," the Presidency said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said: "As a friendly nation to Zimbabwe, we call upon relevant parties to put the interest of the country and the people first and respect the choice made by the Zimbabwean people.

"We hope the international community will join us to make contributions to upholding the peace and development of Zimbabwe," he said.

President Xi Jinping hailed Mnangagwa, who received military training in China when he was a young liberation fighter in the 1960s, as an “old friend” of the Asian powerhouse when he visited Beijing in April. Beijing had long been one of Mugabe’s most powerful allies and a major trade partner, as the West shunned him over his government’s human rights violations, but it avoided publicly taking sides during his ousting.