Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Zimbabwe president calls for peace as clashes erupt after poll

Zimbabwe president calls for peace as clashes erupt after poll

The MDC also questioned the pace of releasing results from the presidential vote.

Correspondents stress that Wednesday's violence is confined to the centre of Harare - an opposition stronghold - while other parts of the country remain calm.

A wounded man takes shelter in a market stall in Harare as protests turned violent.

As the tension between police and protesters ramped up on Wednesday, the authorities deployed the military to the streets, who used live rounds to quell the unrest.

Soldiers arrived at the scene, jumping out of several armoured personnel carriers.

Automatic gunfire has also been heard and an army helicopter has been spotted in the skies.

The commission has said it would announce the results of the presidential race, pitting President Emmerson Mnangagwa against opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, only after all the votes have come in from across the country.

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"The opposition. have perhaps interpreted our understanding to be weak, and I think they are testing our resolve and I think they are making a big mistake". This is exactly why we wanted change.

The assessments are critical for Zimbabwe, because foreign governments, including the US, have made any financial aid conditional on holding democratic elections. "We know that people will be beaten - especially in rural areas, like what they were doing before", said Harare shop worker Tracy Kubara, 26. Why are the army here beating us?

This is the first time in 16 years that the government has allowed European Union and USA election monitors into the country.

The UN and former colonial power the United Kingdom both expressed concern about the violence, in which three people were killed after troops opened fire. We've more votes than ED [Emmerson Dambudzo].

"You said you were better than Mugabe you are the picture of Mugabe", shouted one young male protester wearing a white T-shirt. "The process must be credible and transparent, then whoever wins this election, Zimbabwe can move on, and the people of Zimbabwe can be the real winners".

"The strategy is meant to prepare Zim mentally to accept fake presidential results". Numerous protesters tried to get into the National Results Centre (NRC).

If no presidential candidate wins at least 50 percent of the ballots cast in the first round, a run-off vote is scheduled for September 8.

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The EU's assessment is critical in determining whether Zimbabwe can shed its pariah status as it could help attract investors and trigger an economic revival.

In Harare, the contrast could not be stronger with November, when hundreds of thousands filled the streets, hugging soldiers and celebrating their role in ousting 94-year-old Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabwe had known since independence in 1980.

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

The results of the presidential election, which is a separate contest pitting Mr Mnangagwa against Mr Chamisa, are yet to be declared, but the parliamentary results bode well for the incumbent.

Mr Mnangagwa's government, meanwhile, has accused Mr Chamisa and his supporters of inciting "violence" by already declaring he had won the election.

"We have won this one together".

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