HARARE - The chairman of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said on Friday the party rejected the results of the country's presidential election, minutes before President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner.
Morgen Komichi made the impromptu televised statement at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, where the results were being announced.
He said the MDC could not verify the results before being removed by police.
"They are fake, they are not authentic, we reject them," MDC spokesman Morgan Komichi said.
"We will take this to the courts."
Mnangagwa, a former ally of Robert Mugabe, narrowly won the country's landmark election in an outcome set to fuel fraud allegations as security forces patrolled the streets to prevent protests.
Mnangagwa won 50.8 percent of the vote, ahead of Nelson Chamisa of the opposition MDC party on 44.3 percent, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said.
Mnangagwa won by the smallest of margins, after needing more than 50 percent of the vote to secure victory without a second-round run-off.
He quickly took to Twitter to say he was "humbled" to have won the election, hailing it as a "new beginning" for the country.
Thank you Zimbabwe!— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) August 2, 2018
I am humbled to be elected President of the Second Republic of Zimbabwe.
Though we may have been divided at the polls, we are united in our dreams.
This is a new beginning. Let us join hands, in peace, unity & love, & together build a new Zimbabwe for all! pic.twitter.com/FbdrixAktR
Zimbabwe was braced for public reaction to the election results -- the first since last year's ousting of Mugabe -- after a deadly crackdown on protesters.
Six people were killed on Wednesday when troops fired live rounds against MDC demonstrators alleging the vote had been rigged.
Soldiers and police cleared central Harare ahead of the results, shouting at pedestrians and traders to leave the area, as the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) repeatedly alleged that ZANU-PF was stealing the election.
- Additional reporting Reuters