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Zimbabwe Tense As Election Results Set To Be Unveiled

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Zimbabwe on Thursday awaited the outcome of presidential elections that have plunged the country into bloodshed and protest, stirring memories of a traumatic past.

A day after three people were shot dead during demonstrations against alleged electoral fraud, the capital Harare — its centre cleared by troops — braced for the announcement of the results later Thursday.

The presidential election results will start to be announced around 10 pm,” Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) commissioner Qhubani Moyo told AFP. “We are hopeful that all of them will be announced today.”

The vote on Monday — the first since iron-fisted ruler Robert Mugabe was ousted last year — were meant to turn the page on years of brutal repression.

But anger flared over alleged vote-rigging, prompting troops to use live rounds on protestors.

The government accused the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party of inciting the unrest and vowed to enforce a security clampdown.

But President Emmerson Mnangagwa also sid on Twitter that he wanted an independent investigation into the killings, and that he sought to settle differences “peacefully”.

The presidential race has pitted 75-year-old Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s former ally in the ruling ZANU-PF party, against the MDC’s leader, Nelson Chamisa, 35 years his junior.

In a late-night press conference on Wednesday, Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu warned further protests would not be tolerated.

“The opposition… are testing our resolve and I think they are making a big mistake,” he said.

On Thursday, soldiers guarded the headquarters of ZANU-PF, while armoured personnel carriers, water cannon trucks and police anti-riot vans took position outside MDC headquarters.

Soldiers brandishing assault rifles and police shouted at pedestrians and traders to leave central Harare, AFP journalists witnessed.

 

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