Violence threatens as Zimbabwe opposition claims Chamisa election victory over Mnangagwa

Charlene Craig
July 31, 2018

Zimbabweans desperately hope Monday's peaceful vote will lift them out of economic and political stagnation after decades of Robert Mugabe's rule, but the country is haunted by a history of electoral violence and manipulation that means trust is scarce, despite today's freer environment.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced another batch of results on Tuesday evening.

Africanews journalist Nyasha Mutizwa is from Zimbabwe and she's has been following up on the polls with our men on the ground. There will be a runoff on September 8 if no candidate wins more than half the votes.

"Vote counting is underway and we should be able to release the first results around 3pm". Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has said he would lead peaceful protests if the vote is found to be flawed.

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On Thursday, it swept through the historic Gold Rush town of Shasta and nearby Keswick fueled by gusty winds and dry vegetation. The Carr Fire destroyed almost all of Keswick, a hamlet just west of Redding, which is about 250 miles north of San Francisco.

Candidate Nelson Chamisa offered a tweet that was similar, saying his party is "resoundingly" winning.

As well as electing a president, Zimbabweans were voting for 210 members of parliament and more than 9,000 councillors.

In Harare, 32-year-old finance graduate Tinashe Dongo said he wanted "change" following Monday's vote.

Under Mugabe, elections were often marred by violence, harassment and irregularities.

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Some 300 Palestinians - a lot of them assailants, Israel says - have also been killed in that period, according to news agencies. It says troops will be sent to nearby Kubar village, where the 17-year-old Palestinian attacker is reported to have lived.

This comes after Zec acting chief elections officer, Utoile Silaigwana confirmed that the MDC Alliance presidential candidate had been reported to the police for holding an illegal press conference on Sunday at Meikles Hotel after the deadline for political campaigns.

"In African elections, often stakes are very high and nobody has a backup plan for losing", said John Dramani Mahama, former president of Ghana and head of the observer mission from the Commonwealth nations, mostly former British colonies. "He is young and can understand our plight as youth", said Ndumiso Nyoni, 20, a worker at a lodge in Lupane, southern Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says it will release the final tally within five days.

'I think the best thing is they got to announce the results as early as possible so that everyone will be settled, ' said 65-year-old voter Chaka Nyuka in the capital, Harare.

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Jerry Brown on Thursday issued emergency proclamations in both Riverside County in the south and Shasta County in the north. There are more than 1,700 firefighters working to control the flames, of which only six percent are contained so far.

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