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Zimbabwe election: Three dead in violent Harare protests as security forces battle demonstrators after Zanu-PF win in parliament vote

Millions peacefully cast their votes but soldiers now deployed in streets as presidential result delayed

Zimbabwe election: Shots fired at protesting crowds in Harare as violence escalates

At least three people have been killed as police and soldiers in Harare clashed with opposition protesters amid a delay in announcing the winner of Zimbabwe’s presidential election. The scene in the capital has deteriorated into serious disorder, according to reports on the ground.

Gunfire was also heard after supporters of Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa took to the streets. Mr Chamisa has accused the ruling Zanu-PF party of electoral malfeasance and claimed he won the “popular vote” following Monday’s poll.

Zanu-PF won a two-thirds majority in the national assembly of parliament in the country’s first general election since Robert Mugabe was ousted from power in November 2017. The result means incumbent president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s party will be empowered to make changes to the constitution at will.

But the result of the presidential poll has not yet been announced. Zimbabwe’s electoral commission has repeatedly revised its stance on when the presidential winner will be announced, with European Union observers questioning the delay.

The EU team identified a string of problems in Monday’s poll. They said a level playing field was not achieved due to voter intimidation, media bias and misuse of state resources, though the largely peaceful process was a clear improvement over the Mugabe era.

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The two main contenders in the presidential race were Mr Mnangagwa, a former deputy president and intelligence chief, and Mr Chamisa, a lawyer and pastor who leads the Movement for Democratic Change.

More than 5.5 million people were registered to vote and turnout was around 70%.

Both candidates issued upbeat assessments of how they did on polling day, with Mr Mnangagwa tweeting: ”I am delighted by the high turnout and citizen engagement so far”.

The election featured a record number of more than 20 presidential candidates and nearly 130 political parties vying for parliamentary seats.

Western election observers were in Zimbabwe, reflecting a freer political environment since the November resignation of Mr Mugabe, who had ruled since independence from white minority rule in 1980.

But there were concerns about bias in state media coverage of the election, a lack of transparency in ballot printing and reports of intimidation by pro-government local leaders who are supposed to stay neutral.


Hello and welcome to The Independent's live updates as Zimbabwe waits on the results of its historic post-Mugabe election. Both president Emmerson Mnangagwa and his opponent, Nelson Chamisa, have hinted at positive results for their respective parties, but monitors have called it too close to call. 

But it could be a while before the official announcement - the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has a maximum of five days to complete the count.  

Adam Withnall31 July 2018 09:09

Incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa and his main opponent Nelson Chamisa both said on Tuesday they were confident of victory.

Mnangagwa, 75, a long-serving security chief who took power after Mr Mugabe was toppled in a de facto coup in November, said he was receiving "extremely positive" information on the vote.

Mr Chamisa, 40, said his opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had done "exceedingly well".

Western diplomats and local observer groups said the race, which saw a turnout of 75 percent, was too close to call.

Adam Withnall31 July 2018 09:28

Zimbabwe's electoral commission (ZEC) has said there was no rigging or cheating in the election.

ZEC chair Priscilla Chigumba told reporters in Harare that vote counting was complete in most provinces and the first results would be announced from 3pm.

As well as electing a president, Zimbabweans were voting for 210 members of parliament and more than 9,000 councilors. Final results are due by 4 August.

Adam Withnall31 July 2018 10:17

Electoral Commission chief Priscilla Chigumba has spoken to reporters. She said "the atmosphere has remained peaceful" and the commission has not received any major complaints about how the election was conducted.

She said she was confident there was no "cheating" and that the commission will respect the will of Zimbabweans: "We will not steal their choice of leaders, we will not subvert their will."

Adam Withnall31 July 2018 12:11

 A Zimbabwean election observer group has raised concerns about the independence of the country's election commission in the run-up to the vote, but noted the election was handled better than in previous years.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, which groups civic society bodies, was monitoring the election where Zimbabweans cast their ballots in the first ever vote since long-term ruler Robert Mugabe was forced to resign after a coup last November.

Adam Withnall31 July 2018 13:19

  ↵Worryingly, reports are surfacing a significant number of vote tally forms are "missing". 

Adam Withnall31 July 2018 14:18

The opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, have claimed victory, AFP reports.

Adam Withnall31 July 2018 14:48

Dozens of Zimbabwean opposition supporters have gathered at their headquarters in the capital, celebrating in the belief that they have won the presidential election despite the lack of official results.

The supporters are dancing to music blaring from speakers mounted on a truck at the offices of the Movement for Democratic Change party, which says it conducted its own count. 

In much of Harare, the mood is quiet. Some people are quietly discussing unofficial results circulating on social media, while others openly argue that their political parties won Monday's election even though the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has yet to release preliminary results. 

The commission has five days from the election to release the final tally, and it says it is confident of doing so within that time frame. 

The leading contenders — President Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC leader Nelson Chamisa — have issued upbeat assessments of how they did in the election. 

Adam Withnall31 July 2018 14:55

Zimbabwe's main opposition is claiming that voting results forms were not posted at more than one-fifth of the country's polling stations as the law requires. 

The opposition says results it has collected from around the country show "beyond a reasonable doubt" that Nelson Chamisa has won the presidential election. It says 21 percent of forms were not posted at stations. 

Zimbabwe's electoral commission is expected to release the first results of Monday's vote shortly. The election was the first since longtime leader Robert Mugabe stepped down in November under military pressure and former confidante Emmerson Mnangagwa took power. 

Mr Mnangagwa has also expressed optimism about the results. 

Adam Withnall31 July 2018 15:04

Police with water cannon are circulating in Zimbabwe's capital as the country waits for the first official results of Monday's presidential election. 

The main opposition claims that voting results were not posted outside 21 percent of the country's polling stations as the law requires, raising concerns about possible vote-rigging. Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has said he would lead peaceful protests if the vote is found to be flawed. 

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has said it found no "cheating" in the election, the first since former leader Robert Mugabe stepped down in November under military pressure. The first vote results were set to be announced at 3 p.m. local time but an hour has passed since then. 

Both Chamisa and President Emmerson Mnangagwa have expressed optimism about the election results. Past votes under Mugabe were marked by violence but Monday's vote was peaceful. 

Adam Withnall31 July 2018 15:38

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