Just hours after international observers praised a “peaceful” electoral process, violent scenes erupted in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.
According to Reuters, eyewitnesses said that one person was shot dead by soldiers near a bus rank in central Harare. Associated Press has reported that it has seen two fatalities.
Initial reports from journalists on the ground describe soldiers firing live ammunition into crowds of opposition supporters, who had gathered near the ruling party’s headquarters to protest the results of Monday’s election.
Journalists also reported that soldiers have assaulted opposition members with batons, and deliberately damaged camera equipment. Several people have been injured. The Mail & Guardian has not been able to independently confirm reports of fatalities. Armoured personnel carriers and tanks have been seen moving into the Harare City Centre.
Results released on Wednesday by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) gave Zanu-PF a sweeping majority in parliament. Results for the presidential vote have yet to be released, although opposition leader Nelson Chamisa claims that he has won decisively.
The official final tally of parliamentary results, as released by the ZEC, shows that Zanu-PF won 144 of 210 seats in parliament, giving the party a two-thirds majority. The MDC Alliance won 64 seats.
Opposition leaders have cried foul, claiming that the election was rigged in favour of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the ruling Zanu-PF.
On Tuesday, senior opposition official and former finance minister Tendai Biti claimed that he and Chamisa were being targeted for assassination by vice-president Constantine Chiwenga.
Chiwenga is the former army chief who, along with Mnangagwa, led the military coup in November 2017 which unseated Robert Mugabe. (Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg)