Britain calls for 'calm, restraint' after Zimbabwe violence

Glen Norman
August 2, 2018

The commission postponed announcing results of Monday's tightly fought presidential race, pitting President Emmerson Mnangagwa against opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

Despite the opposition's allegations that the voting was flawed, the election commission has said there was no rigging or cheating in the elections that saw an average turnout of 75%.

We hold the MDC Alliance and its whole leadership responsible for this disturbance of national peace which was meant to disrupt the electoral process.

Police have invoked a strict security act that forbids public gatherings. Soldiers are circulating in Harare, telling vendors and other people to leave the city centre by noon.

ZBC had reported that the electoral commission would announce the presidential results at 12:30 local time (10:30 GMT) on Wednesday, but only parliamentary results were read out.

The MDC Alliance's Tendai Biti's lawyer says he has noted the police's request for his client to hand himself over to them this afternoon.

"Are we in war?"

The opposition says it condemns violence in all its forms.

This photo taken on January 7, 2017 shows Zimbabwe's then acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaking during a funeral ceremony in Harare.


Supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe's primary opposition party, protest against alleged fraud by the election authority and ruling party Wednesday in Harare. The country's electoral commission said on Wednesday it would set the date for the release of the final results "sometime tomorrow".

Presidential election results are expected anytime from later on Thursday.

Charamba said the troops were deployed at the request of police who could not cope with the violence, and will remain under police command.

The opposition alleges the vote was rigged.

The general election follows the ousting of long time Zimbabwean leader, Robert Mugabe in November past year by the military.

The MDC Alliance said the ruling Zanu-PF party was attempting to rig the vote to allow President Mnangagwa to win, and the delay in releasing official results was unacceptable. Another 58 seats are yet to be declared.

A Harare-based political analyst with Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, Pedzisai Ruhanya, said the results released so far could be a reflection of the will of the people but were not flawless. We've more votes than ED [Emmerson Dambudzo].

A USA team said the election "fell short of what was needed", citing ZEC's lack of independence, the use of food, fertiliser and seed to buy votes and the ballot design which gave President Mnangagwa an inexplicably prominent position.

Riot police patrolling outside the Commission offices later clashed with demonstrators.


If no candidate wins more than half the votes in the presidential election, there will be a runoff in five weeks.

Police patrol outside the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission offices as opposition supporters gather, in Harare, Zimbabwe, on August 1, 2018.

Former colonial power Britain also said it was deeply concerned by the situation, while the United Nations had earlier called from restraint from all sides in the bloody aftermath to Monday's election. Its population of 13 million is struggling amid shortages of foreign currency, unemployment above 80 percent and lack of foreign investment.

"There is no way that ZANU-PF will accept an MDC victory".

In the capital Harare many people went about their usual daily grind, including queuing up for scarce cash outside banks.

"Opposition parties have never enjoyed the freedom of meeting their supporters the way they have been doing‚ so they have perhaps misinterpreted our understanding to being weak‚" he said.

The most important thing for us now is to move beyond yesterday's tragic events, and to move forward, together.I am therefore calling for an independent investigation into what occurred in Harare yesterday.

Now, almost 48 hours after polls closed, voters still await an official answer about who won the country's presidential election - and suspicion of electoral wrongdoing has gathered intensity in the capital city's streets.


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