Clashes broke out in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare on Wednesday as results of the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections trickled in. There were unconfirmed reports that the Army allegedly shot dead one person, according to Reuters.
Soldiers were deployed to help the police during clashes with hundreds of supporters of the opposition party. The police fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse the crowd while military helicopters flew overhead.
According to latest reports, the ruling Zanu-PF was way ahead of its rivals. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has till now announced that the party has won 144 seats and the Movement for Democratic Change has 61. There are 210 seats in the National Assembly’s Lower House. This means the ruling party has won two-thirds majority.
However, there is no word on the result of the presidential seat – contested by incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zanu-PF and Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change.
Opposition supporters burnt tyres in the capital city and blocked streets. “We support Chamisa and we want him to be our president,” a 19-year-old protestor told The Guardian. “The electoral commission is not fair. Our election is being stolen.”
Another protestor said the results were not true. “This is all the government’s fault,” said Abigail Nganlo. “...People are so angry. The [election] figures they are producing are fake.” Alex Kamasa, a 30-year-old unemployed graduate, echoed similar thoughts. “They [the government] are desperate,” he said. “They have rigged the election. It is a big robbery.”
Observers from the European Union also questioned the elections – Zimbabwe’s first since former President Robert Mugabe was ousted in November 2017. Representatives from European Union and the United States election monitors were permitted to observe the poll proceedings for the first time in 16 years. They were deployed to ascertain if the elections were held in a free and fair manner.
Chamisa also accused the Zanu-PF of rigging the election. “The strategy is meant to prepare Zimbabwe mentally to accept fake presidential results,” he said on Twitter. “We’ve more votes. We won the popular vote [and] will defend it.” President Mnangagwa asked people to maintain peace and calm.