Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former spy chief installed after Robert Mugabe's removal in a coup in November, won Zimbabwe's presidential election after a poll marred by the deaths of six people in an army crackdown on opposition protests.
After two days of claims and counterclaims, the 75-year-old incumbent secured a comfortable victory, polling 2.46 million votes against 2.15 million for 40-year-old opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.
Earlier in the week, soldiers beat and shot at opposition protesters after Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Mr Chamisa claimed he had won the “popular vote” and accused Zanu-PF, the ruling party, of fraud.
Police raided MDC offices and detained 18 people while a search warrant suggested Mr Chamisa and others were suspected of the crimes of ”possession of dangerous weapons” and “public violence”; Mr Mnangagwa has publicly accused his opponent of inciting violence.
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Mr Mnangagwa’s spokesman declared on state television that no order was issued by the army to clear central Harare, terming such reports “fake news”.
George Charamba said Thursday was “a normal working day”, though nearly all shops in the downtown area were shuttered and the streets quieter than usual.
Commonwealth observers condemned the approach taken by the army in Harare yesterday, with former Ghanaian president John Mahama saying the bloc “categorically [denounced] the excessive use of force against unarmed civilians”.
The electoral commission announced yesterday that the ruling Zanu-PF party, led by Mr Mnangagwa, had won a two-thirds majority in the national assembly of parliament.
Voter intimidation, misuse of state resources and bias in state media meant a “level playing field” was not achieved, they said.
Welcome to our live blog of the latest in Zimbabwe's election.
The army has ordered shops to close in central Harare - the scene of protests and several deaths yesterday - and told people to leave the area.
Zimbabwe's electoral commission, whose website was hacked overnight, said it would announce the results of the vote "very soon" and denied opposition claims that it had allowed the ruling Zanu-PF party to rig the vote.
Here, our diplomatic editor Kim Sengupta describes the chaos in central Harare yesterday:
The Movement for Democratic Change's headquarters have been sealed off by police, according to the party's secretary general.
Twenty-seven party employees carrying out voter tabulation were locked inside, Douglas Mwonzora said.
A new joint statement by foreign election observers in Zimbabwe has expressed "grave concern" over deadly violence after Monday's vote and urged the electoral commission to release the full results "expeditiously" and in a transparent manner.
The statement by European Union, US, Commonwealth, African Union and other observer missions denounced the "excessive use of force" used to suppress Wednesday's protests in the capital and urged Zimbabwe's army and police to use restraint.
Zimbabwean authorities said the military would remain deployed until "this situation is over".
Zanu-PF is claiming victory in the presidential election and telling the opposition that "we should all lose graciously."
Spokesman Paul Mangwana urged supporters to "celebrate our victory with restraint".
He also told reporters that opposition protesters were responsible for yesterday's violence in Harare, where soldiers beat and shot at supporters of the MDC.
"It is not entirely true protesters were not armed," he claimed.
The British embassy in Zimbabwe has condemned the "excessive use of force" by the security forces against demonstrators.
Britain's ambassador to Harare has met Zimbabwean ministers and made clear the army should be removed from the streets of the capital, the British embassy has said.
"Zimbabwe is experiencing a period of heightened tension," a statement said.
"All political leaders have a responsibility to ensure they do not raise tensions or issue statements that make violence more likely."
Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, said the country's president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, knows he has lost the election, because if he had won the result would have been announced already.
In his first public appearance since the vote on Monday, Mr Chamisa, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), urged his supporters to be calm and await "massive celebrations" for his victory.
He said he could not give any figures because he would be breaking the law.
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