Zimbabwe Election: Mnangagwa calls for independent investigation of violent crackdown on protesters

Zimbabwe Election: Mnangagwa calls for independent investigation of violent crackdown on protesters

Three people were killed after soldiers moved into Harare on Wednesday, firing live rounds and beating protesters.

These revelations come as opposition parties accused the ruling Zanu-PF of trying to steal the presidential and parliamentary election.

MDC supporters, who say their leader Nelson Chamisa won the vote, burnt tyres and pulled down street signs as protests spread from the party headquarters in Harare.

Opposition supporters clashed with police on Wednesday following the announcement by Zimbabwe's electoral commission that presidential election results would not be ready until Thursday.

Twenty-three candidates - all first-time contenders - contested for the presidency. Mangwana also urges supporters of the Zanu-PF ruling party to "celebrate our victory with restraint".

"What they have done is intimidate people in the rural areas saying, "we will kill you if you vote MDC" and so on and then the global observers say this election was free and fair".

Zimbabweans desperately hope the peaceful vote, which took place Monday, will lift them out of economic and political stagnation after decades of Mugabe's rule, but the country is haunted by a history of electoral violence and manipulation that means trust is scarce.

Soldiers fired "randomly" and beat up bystanders who were not involved in the protests, said the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he seeks to "peacefully" end election crisis while his government vowed to enforce a security crackdown to prevent further unrest in Harare.

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The riots surged up to the fence of the Rainbow Towers Hotel & and Conference Centre, where the electoral commission has been announcing results and many worldwide election observers are staying.

Police also sealed off roads to the election body's offices as the protesters headed back to the Movement for Democratic Change offices.

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

Voters in Zimbabwe traditionally pick a presidential candidate based on their party affiliation and the trend in the parliamentary election was expected to continue when results for the president are announced this week.

The observer mission head said it was significant to note that there had been a "remarkable transformation in the exercise and protection of civil and political rights in Zimbabwe compared with the 2008 presidential run-off".

Zimbabwean authorities now say the military will remain in the capital until "this situation is over".

The military deployment was the first time that soldiers had appeared in the streets of the capital since Mugabe's departure in November. At one point, the relatives blocked hospital staff from wheeling the body to the mortuary and demanded a police explanation; a plainclothes officer said they could return Thursday to pick up the body after a police investigation.

The 94-year-old former leader had been in power since independence from white minority rule in 1980 until he was forced to resign in November after the military and ruling party turned on him.

This invitation of formerly banned election observer missions had, according to Augusto, demonstrated "transparency and confidence building in Zimbabwe's electoral process".

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