Army on streets as Zimbabwe awaits election results

Army on streets as Zimbabwe awaits election results

European Union observers said Wednesday that Zimbabwe's elections had been held on an "unlevel playing field" as opposition MDC supporters protested against alleged fraud by the election authority and ruling ZANU-PF party.

On Wednesday, the election commission announced that the ruling ZANU-PF had taken majority of the seats in parliament, winning 109 out of 210 seats with 41 going to the opposition MDC and 58 yet to be allocated.

The electoral commission said it may take until Saturday-the maximum allowed under the constitution-to declare the presidential victor in Monday's vote, which pitted Mr. Mnangagwa, the longtime strongman's successor against Nelson Chamisa, a lawyer barely half his age.

HARARE, Zimbabwe-The party of former President Robert Mugabe took the majority of seats in Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections, officials said, but European and US observers expressed reservations about the vote and tensions on the streets of the capital mounted.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe called for calm on Wednesday as opposition supporters clashed with police in central Harare ahead of the announcement of this week's presidential election results.

Chamisa, a lawyer and pastor who leads the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, has gone further, saying his own count shows that he won the election and that he's ready to form the next government. They also called for improvements in the counting procedure, saying the vote represented "a political watershed in Zimbabwe's history".

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

Shopkeepers have been ordered to close and leave the centre of Harare by Zimbabwean soldiers, two store-owners have said.

Mr Mnangagwa's Government has accused Mr Chamisa and his supporters of inciting violence by declaring he had won.

Donald Trump won’t tolerate foreign interference in midterm elections: White House
The US leader has since tried to walk back at least some of his comments. I repeat once again, if the right conditions for work are created".

Police patrol outside the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission offices as opposition supporters gather, in Harare, Zimbabwe, on August 1, 2018.

"We categorically denounce the excessive use of force against unarmed civilians", former Ghanaian president John Mahama said in a statement on behalf of the Commonwealth. "A lot of the protesters I've spoken to say, 'We don't need to see any more".

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the country's largest group of nongovernmental organisations, said the July 30 election "falls short of a credible process".

Anti-riot police backed by water cannon trucks monitored the demonstrators, while MDC supporters also protested outside the conference center where election results are being announced.

Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, casts his vote at a polling station in Harare on Monday.

ZEC chief Priscilla Chigumba said the presidential result may not be ready until Saturday.

The most important thing for us now is to move beyond yesterday's tragic events, and to move forward, together.I am therefore calling for an independent investigation into what occurred in Harare yesterday.

Last night Biti urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release the election results, claiming the delay was evidence Zanu-PF was trying to rig the poll.

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