Rights organisations demanded a probe into the army following the deaths of at least three civilians in the violence trailing Zimbabwe’s elections. Picture: Xinhua/Shaun Jusa
Harare – The United Nations (UN) called for restraint while human rights organisations demanded a probe into the army following the deaths of at least three civilians in the violence trailing Zimbabwe’s divisive elections.
Protests and subsequent deaths in the capital Harare are the aftermath of vote rigging claims against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), raised by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, and sentiments by some international observers that the poll was flawed.
Soldiers opened fire on citizens and protesters that were also enraged by delays in announcing the winner of the presidential poll held on Monday.
The election will pit Mugabe’s successor Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ZANU-PF party against challengers led by Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Thousands of MDC supporters in the party’s red colors and holding placards that read ‘No Reforms, No Elections’ and ‘No to vote rigging’ marched to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in Harare, where MDC leaders are expected to hand in a petition with their demands.
“ZANU-PF is shamelessly trying to steal the election by using ZEC,” Costa Machingauta, an MDC member of parliament told the crowd.
The MDC is wary of any attempt to put it at a disadvantage to Mr Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF, insisting there be a deal on how to design, print and store ballot papers.
At the last march in June, Mr Chamisa said the ZEC should allow an independent audit of the new voter register and ensure equal coverage by public media, among other demands.
Mr Chamisa has rejected the ballot papers being printed by the ZEC.
However, its chief Priscilla Chigumba has said her commission alone is empowered to deal with the issue, and demands by the MDC are meant to usurp its powers.
A European Union election observer mission on July 6 urged the ZEC to be more open about the printing and storage of the ballot papers to enhance the credibility of the vote.