Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Zimbabwean leader appeals for calm after election violence

Zimbabwean leader appeals for calm after election violence

Zimbabwe's ruling party has won a majority of seats in Parliament, the electoral commission announced Wednesday, as the country braced for the first official results of the presidential election.

According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) results, President Emmerson Mnangagwa's ZANU-PF is cruising to victory after claiming 109 seats in a 210-seat parliament, Al jazeera reports.

"We must all demonstrate patience and maturity, and act in a way that puts our people and their safety first", he tweeted Wednesday.

Observers from the Southern African Development Community called the elections "a political watershed in Zimbabwe's history" but with some shortcomings, urging anyone with grievances to refrain from violence. It cited concerns that the voters' roll had not been released prior to the poll, about a fifth of results from the presidential ballot were not published outside polling stations and that some voters had been "deliberately displaced".

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his main rival, Nelson Chamisa both say they are confident of victory after Monday's election.

The assessments are critical for Zimbabwe, because foreign governments, including the US, have made any financial aid conditional on holding democratic elections.

Scores of his supporters who had been burning tyres in the streets attacked riot police near the electoral commission headquarters.

The historic elections were the first without former President Robert Mugabe at the helm and, less than a year after he was forced to resign in the wake of a military takeover. "We won the popular vote & will defend it!"

However, Douglas Mwonzora, a top MDC Alliance official, told the BBC's Andrew Harding that the endorsement on Sunday of their candidate by Mr Mugabe had cost the party votes.

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The EU did not understand why the release of the presidential result was taking so long, Brok said.

A Reuters witness saw soldiers with sticks beat two people and counted at least five trucks full of soldiers.

ZEC said it would start announcing results for the presidential race from 10.30 GMT.

The most important thing for us now is to move beyond yesterday's tragic events, and to move forward, together.They, alongside the families of the victims, are in my thoughts and prayers at this hard time.

The MDC opposition party condemned the army for opening fire on protesters "for no apparent reason". The commission, which must announce the presidential results by Saturday, has said the vote was free and fair.

"You voted for total Change in this past election!" the lawyer and minister said.

He said: "We have seen how we have won in those areas including rural areas, we were leading, and now they want to hide on the Zanu PF usual manipulation that they control rural areas". "We have won this one together".

Mnangagwa, a longtime ZANU-PF member with a record of violence during his time in government, called on Zimbabwe's voters to "desist from provocative declarations and statements". The uncertainty about the results had triggered fears among opposition activists that the government or the military could refuse to cede power if the Zanu-PF was defeated.

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