Zim elections results due at 12.30pm on Wednesday

Hannah Rogers
August 2, 2018

At least one person was shot dead by the soldiers near a bus rank, witnesses at the scene told a Reuters photographer.

They also questioned delays in releasing the results of the presidential contest in Zimbabwe's first election since Robert Mugabe was forced to resign following a de facto coup in November after almost 40 years in power.

The assessments of Western and other observers, many of whom returned to Zimbabwe after being barred for almost two decades, are crucial in the possible lifting of global sanctions on the southern African nation.

Correspondents stress that Wednesday's violence is confined to the centre of Harare - an opposition stronghold - while other parts of the country remain calm. He accused the commission of releasing the parliamentary results first to prepare Zimbabweans for a Mnangagwa victory.

Soldiers and police fired live rounds, water cannons and tear gas at furious protesters who threw rocks and burned vehicles Wednesday in Zimbabwe's capital, dashing the optimism of an election that the country hoped would set it on a new course after decades of Robert Mugabe's rule.

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.

Tension is rife in Zimbabwe after violence broke out on Wednesday, August 1, following claims by Opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa that the Monday, July 20, election was rigged in favour of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

It is a lesson for the opposition that in future they should not lose sight of the bigger prize.

"This is our government". This is exactly why we wanted change. They believe the election has been stolen, and are demanding the MDC be announced as victor. "So far, it shows that the people of Zimbabwe have entrusted ZANU-PF to lead them and we will do our best to meet the people's wishes in the constituencies that elected us, stated", Nick Mangwana, ZANU-PF spokesman stated.

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Anticipation of the USA sanctions had already helped to send the Turkish lira to an all-time low against the dollar on Wednesday. On Wednesday, Erdogan accused the United States of having an "evangelist, Zionist mentality" and using "threat-filled language".

This was the first time western observers were allowed to monitor the democratic process in Zimbabwe for nearly two decades.

One of the people who was killed by bullets sprayed by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) was identified by the public on social media as a local shop owner who had just closed her store and was walking to her vehicle. We've more votes than ED [Emmerson Dambudzo].

A unit of riot police has been deployed at the electoral commission headquarters.

The House of Assembly of Parliament has 210 seats and ZANU-PF's two-thirds majority would allow it to change the constitution at will.

Chamisa has said he is confident of victory, and has threatened in the lead-up to the polls he will not to accept a Zanu-PF victory.

His opponent Chamisa, however, was not prepared to wait on the release of official results, which he has already derided as fake.

"We won the popular vote and will defend it!"

ZEC Chairwoman Priscilla Chigumba said: "It depends with whether those who disagree with something would like to use legal remedies but sometime tomorrow we should be able to advise you what time we can, if any, start announcing the presidential election results". European Union monitors said the delay was undermining the vote's credibility.

The EU mission also said it would deliver a more detailed assessment of how the election results are handled and announced at a later stage.

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