Looming Presidential Results Draw International Spotlight to Zimbabwe

03 August, 2018, 01:22 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • 23% of legislative results Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF takes lead

Dozens of opposition supporters gathered Tuesday evening at their headquarters in the capital, Harare, celebrating in the belief that they had won the presidential election based on results they said they collected from agents in the field.

Tongai Mnangagwa of Zanu PF was declared victor in Harare South and was closely ahead of former Zanu PF Harare Political Commissar who stood as an MDC Alliance candidate, Shadreck Mashayamombe.

"The presidential election results will start to be announced around 10 pm", Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) commissioner Qhubani Moyo told AFP.

His bombshell claim came on Tuesday just hours before the first official results showing Zanu-PF had won a thumping majority in the Zimbabwe election emerged.

It also expressed "serious concerns" as representatives of Western and other groups gave their first assessments of whether the vote was free and fair - crucial for lifting worldwide sanctions on the once-prosperous country.

A government crackdown in Zimbabwe after Monday's elections has prompted global calls for restraint.

"They know the military has more power than they do but they still have a flicker of hope that maybe Chamisa will be announced as the victor".

Human rights group Amnesty International's acting secretary general Colm O Cuanachain said in a press release that the "militarisation" of the election aftermath was "muzzling freedom of expression, association and assembly". Under Mugabe elections were often marred by fraud and deadly violence.

"Deployment of troops reveals the uncomfortable truth that, eight months after Mugabe was ousted, the army remains the pre-eminent political force", said Piers Pigou, a Zimbabwe expert at the International Crisis Group think-tank.

The unrest started soon after Nelson Chamisa, leader of the opposition MDC party, declared himself the popular victor.

"We call on the political leaders and the population as whole to exercise restraint and reject any form of violence while awaiting the resolution of the dispute and the announcement of the electoral results".

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Gunfire was heard downtown throughout the afternoon, including near the ruling party headquarters where protesters had gathered.

Mnangagwa called for an "independent investigation" into the violence in Harare, saying those responsible "should be identified and brought to justice".

Wednesday's violence, which followed a relatively orderly election, dashes Mnangagwa's hopes of repairing the image of a country that had become synonymous with corruption and economic collapse under Mugabe.

"I was making a peaceful protest".

Zanu-PF, in power since the country gained its independence 38 years ago, has won a two-thirds parliamentary majority - and denies allegations of rigging. "They are there to assist the police".

Human rights activists and some global observers, meanwhile, criticised the military for opening fire on unarmed civilians in what they said was a disproportionate reaction to the protests and rioting.

"There is no explanation whatsoever for the brutality that we saw today".

More than five million Zimbabweans registered to take part in the poll.

"We won the popular vote & will defend it!"

Witnesses assert the death toll in post-election violence in Zimbabwe has risen to at least six people following clashes between protesters and Zimbabwe security forces, NewsDay reported on Thursday.

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