Zimbabwe explodes after alleged election-rigging

Three dead as opposition protests turn violent

Supporters of MDC Alliance take part in a protest in Harare at alleged election rigging
(Image credit: Lius Tato/AFP/Getty Images)

Three people were killed yesterday when police opened fire on opposition supporters in Zimbabwe protesting against Zanu-PF’s reported victory in Monday’s general election.

Automatic gunfire crackled in the streets of the capital Harare as soldiers stepped in to disperse protesters. They had clashed with police after the main opposition accused the ruling party of trying to rig the country’s election.

“Parliamentary results gave victory to the ruling Zanu-PF party in the first vote since the removal of former ruler Robert Mugabe,” reports the BBC. But the result of the presidential poll has not yet been made public.

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The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, Nelson Chamisa, said on Twitter he had won the “popular vote”, beating Emmerson Mnangagwa from the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Some of the clashes took place outside the headquarters of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which opposition supporters accused of bias.

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There is “growing impatience” to hear the presidential result, says The Guardian.

As votes were cast on Monday “the air was thick with anticipation for a new political era”, reports NPR. As each hour has passed without a result, “suspicion of electoral wrongdoing has gathered intensity in the capital city's streets”.

European Union observers have also questioned the delay.

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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”, Reuters reports.

Elmar Brok, the EU’s chief observer, said: “The longer it lasts that the results of the presidential election is not known, the more lack of credibility it provides”.

With both sides looking likely to contest the final result, fears are rising that Wednesday’s violence could herald a protracted period of unrest.

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