Armored vehicles… military helicopters circling overhead… soldiers dashing into the streets to attack civilians, real life ammunition fired into the air.
It’s not a war, it’s just another election in our Africa, this time in Zimbabwe.
The soldiers swept into the streets of Harare to forcefully disperse opposition supporters protesting alleged manipulation of Zimbabwe presidential election which took place on Monday. At least three people have been confirmed dead, but according to recent reports the death toll has risen to 6 people
Many had hoped for a new Zimbabwe;
Monday’s election was seen as the country’s chance to move on from decades of repression, and international isolation. The first ballot without Mugabe in 37 years. The voting queues were already formed a night before the elections- yes it was that serious
Confusion and frustration at voting station in Batanai primary school #Mabvuku, where people tell me they’ve been waiting for over three hours and still don’t know when they’ll be able to cast their votes. #ZimDecides2018 #ZimbabweElections pic.twitter.com/gn4rs8XuGv
— Saskia Houttuin (@saskiahouttuin) July 30, 2018
Meet the front-runners
Incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a long time Robert Mugabe ally, who succeeded him after a military take over last year ( his previous affiliation to Mugabe and his age works against him) and 40 year old political leader Nelson Chamisa (A known favorite because of his age)
“Sometime Tomorrow” …That has been the reply from Zimbabwe’s electoral commission when urged to release the results of the presidential elections which held since Monday.
Both the opposition and Western election observers repeatedly urged that results of the presidential election be released as soon as possible.
Zimbabwe’s electoral commission replied that according to the constitution; the commission has five days from Monday’s election to announce the results. It says “most of the presidential results are here with us” but that agents from all 23 candidates have to verify the results first
You stole my vote!
Parliamentary elections was released ahead of the presidential results in favor of the ruling ZANU-PF party who won a majority of seats in Parliament. The opposition and their supporters were having none of it. Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa alleged vote-rigging and threatened to go to court.
His supporters were roaming downtown Harare, denouncing the government alleging their votes for the house of assembly have been stolen. Dozens of angry Zimbabwe opposition supporters gathered outside the gates of the electoral commission as they awaited the results of the presidential election
“The opposition have perhaps interpreted our understanding to be weak, I think they are testing our resolve. They are making a big mistake.” – Zimbabwean home affairs minister
Military crack down
The government late Wednesday night vowed to enforce a security crackdown to prevent further unrest after the army opened fire to disperse opposition protests in Harare, leaving at least three people dead.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) invoked provisions of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), as tensions escalated. Posa is a strict security act that forbids public gatherings
— nomsa (@skudue_) August 2, 2018
“We hold the opposition MDC Alliance and its whole leadership responsible for this disturbance of national peace,” – Zimbabwean president
Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu accuses the opposition of using the presence of international election observers to “grandstand” and cause “anarchy”.
At Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare, family members wept in the emergency room where one body lay on a stretcher.
Ignatius Neshava identified him as 42-year-old Ishmeil Kumeni, a street vendor caught in the crossfire.
Brighton Chizhande, chairman of the Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights, says they have confirmed one death from a gunshot wound near the heart and they are following up reports of four others killed.
— The Observer (@observerug) August 2, 2018
He says the injured include people with deep wounds in the shoulder and in the buttocks and one person with a “gunshot wound to the penis.”
The opposition reacts: Are we at war?”
The opposition says it condemns violence in all its forms. They visited the hospital were supporters were receiving treatment and spoke to the press. They maintained they have won the election but the presidency is trying to rig the votes
International community reacts to the use of force…
The United States Embassy in Zimbabwe says it is “deeply concerned” after the military moved into the capital to disperse hundreds of opposition protesters.
An embassy statement called on Zimbabwean security forces to “use restraint” . They also urged the leaders of political parties to call on their supporters for calm.
The U.S. observer mission says the commission should take immediate steps to publish a spreadsheet of the voting results that can be scrutinized by the public.
International observers has given their verdict on the election
The EU mission points out the “misuse of state resources, instances of coercion and intimidation, partisan behavior by traditional leaders and overt bias in state media” but says Monday’s election was largely peaceful in a break from the past.
Word on the street
Some Zimbabweans have expressed concerns that the military-backed effort that forced out former leader Robert Mugabe in November is not going to accept an opposition election victory.
“Those same tankers ‘we’ celebrated last year in November are being used against us,” says one shocked Zimbabwean after armed troops moved into the capital to disperse opposition protests over disputed election results.
Military presence has remained in capital as uneasy silence hits Harare, the bustling city is pensive and eerily silent as Zimbabweans and the world await the results of the Monday presidential elections the first in 37 years without Robert Mugabe on the Ballot.
I’m in downtown Harare. Army trucks here ordering people to disperse and go home. Ominous feeling here. Masked soldiers again. pic.twitter.com/r6NRjMFRUK
— Joseph Cotterill (@jsphctrl) August 2, 2018