Zimbabwe election: worldwide calls for restraint

Aug 02, 2018, 10:12
Zimbabwe election: worldwide calls for restraint

European Union observers said "a truly level playing field was not achieved" in the election, pointing out the "misuse of state resources, instances of coercion and intimidation, partisan behavior by traditional leaders and overt bias in state media".

Robert Mugabe's old party Zanu PF have claimed victory in the first election held in Zimbabwe since the former dictator was pushed out of office past year.

The EU's assessment is critical in determining whether Zimbabwe can fix its image and attract the foreign investors needed for an economic revival.

The ruling Zanu-PF party has won a majority of seats in parliament, the electoral commission said.

Those who were involved in these acts of violence also besieged Zimbabwe Electoral Commission offices and National Results Centre as well as the Harare International Conference Centre.

A presidential poll will be held on Saturday, September 8, if a candidate does not secure more than 50% of the vote, but it will probably take a couple of days before the results of the presidential poll are declared.

Thousands of supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change chanted anti-government slogans in Harare and faced off against a heavy police presence, fearing that their candidate, Nelson Chamisa, would have the election stolen from him.

"I would like to ask for as fast as possible the release of the presidential election", he said. It cited concerns that the voters' roll had not been released prior to the poll, about a fifth of results from the presidential ballot were not published outside polling stations and that some voters had been "deliberately displaced".

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

Tendai Biti, a candidate for opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has accused the ruling Zanu-PF regime of plotting to assassinate himself and Chamisa. "The strategy is meant to prepare Zim mentally to accept fake presidential results", he tweeted.

"People are saying how can we vote for poverty that has plagued us for 38 years? We won the popular vote [and] will defend it", Chamisa said on Twitter. You voted for total Change in this past election!

As gunfire echoed through downtown Harare, Mnangagwa called for calm and urge patience while results were collated. Mugabe had ruled the country since gaining independence from Britain in 1980.

Its population of 13 million is struggling amid shortages of foreign currency, unemployment above 80% and lack of foreign investment.

The crowds had been there since the morning but when news came that Zanu-PF had won the majority of seats in parliament and that the presidential results were not ready, the mood turned.

A vendor scurries for cover with her wares as soldiers disperse demonstrators on August 1 2018, in Harare, after protests erupted over alleged fraud in the country's election.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa blamed the MDC opposition party for the violence, accusing rivals of staging a "disturbance of national peace" to disrupt the electoral process. They vowed not to leave the streets until Zec addressed their issues.

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