Zimbabwe police fire water cannon, teargas at opposition protesters

Charlene Craig
August 2, 2018

A protester gestures toward police water cannons outside of the gates of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

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. "We don't accept that", Biti said. "Are we at war?"

The opposition says it condemns violence in all its forms.

Soldiers on a street in Harare Wednesday.

"The results are biased, trying to give the impression that ZANU has won", said Lawrence Maguranyi, 21, an MDC supporter and university student protesting at the party headquarters.

Observers say it could be a tight race, but the opposition has said it will protest if their candidate is defeated.

The Commonwealth also urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to expedite the announcement of the results of the presidential vote.

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A man has been shot dead in the clashes between armed police operatives and protesters of the the opposition, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) alliance. The commission said two seats were won by smaller parties and 58 seats had yet to be declared.

European Union observers on Wednesday questioned delays in releasing the presidential results.

Through his official Twitter account Mnangagwa said calm should return to the streets through progressive dialogue.

Many Zimbabweans looked to the vote as a launching pad for a return to the kind of worldwide acceptance and relative prosperity that the country enjoyed in the first part of the rule of Mugabe, who took office after independence from white minority rule in 1980.

"We won the popular vote and will defend it!" he tweeted.

Worldwide monitors gave their first assessments of the election, saying it was conducted in a relatively free environment and was a big improvement over past votes marred by violence and irregularities, although they noted significant problems.

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) praised the electoral commission for using biometric kits to register voters, saying it reduced the possibility of multiple voting. You voted for total Change in this past election!

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Mnangagwa, a former deputy president who fell out with Mugabe and then took over from him, has said his showing in the election was "extremely positive" while urging people to wait for official results.

It alleges that the governing Zanu-PF party has rigged Monday's elections.

Troops have opened fire in Zimbabwe's capital Harare after opposition supporters went on the rampage.

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% and lack of foreign investment.

Ballots are still being counted in the presidential election with results expected to be announced later this week.

Chamisa's MDC won in most urban centres, where it enjoys majority support. "Equally, we hold the party and its leadership responsible for any loss of life, injury or damage of property that arise from these acts of political violence which they have aided and abetted", he said.

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