Gunfire, tanks and injuries in Harare as Zim election turns violent

Initial reports from journalists on the ground describe soldiers firing live ammunition into crowds of opposition supporters

Source: Gunfire, tanks and injuries in Harare as Zim election turns violent | News | Africa | M&G

Just hours after international observers praised a “peaceful” electoral process, violent scenes erupted in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.

According to Reuters, eyewitnesses said that one person was shot dead by soldiers near a bus rank in central Harare. Associated Press has reported that it has seen two fatalities.

Initial reports from journalists on the ground describe soldiers firing live ammunition into crowds of opposition supporters, who had gathered near the ruling party’s headquarters to protest the results of Monday’s election.

Journalists also reported that soldiers have assaulted opposition members with batons, and deliberately damaged camera equipment. Several people have been injured. The Mail & Guardianhas not been able to independently confirm reports of fatalities. Armoured personnel carriers and tanks have been seen moving into the Harare City Centre.

Makomborero Haruzivishe said he was lucky to be alive, as a bullet just missed him. He said it was scary seeing soldiers shooting indiscriminately.

“There was a guy who was shot in front of me along First Street. I’m not sure if he died but he was motionless. It just shows you that they have not reformed. Soldiers were shooting indiscriminately as if we are in Mogadishu or Juba where there is a war, or Syria where there are terrorists,” said Haruzivishe, a former secretary general of the Zimbabwe National Students Union, which backs the MDC Alliance.

He said the MDC leadership had not asked them to protest, but youths had decided “to defend their vote. “In the end, if formal institutions fail to illuminate the will of the masses, then the people will, in the streets of their land, speak out again in defense of their victory, their future and their president Nelson Chamisa,” he said.

Ray Saurombe said he was assaulted by soldiers even though he was not part of the MDC protest “There were tankers on the street and armed soldiers on the street. I was beaten up for no apparent reason even though I was not protesting. I saw a guy who was bundled into a military truck who was brutalised and thrown out,” he said.

Ropafadzo Gumunyu, another eyewitness, added: “It’s been hard. Shots were fired. There was burning of some cars and tyres like they do in South Africa. It’s them who started it by rigging and I’m told tomorrow will be worse.”

Results released on Wednesday by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) gave Zanu-PF a sweeping majority in parliament. Results for the presidential vote have yet to be released, although opposition leader Nelson Chamisa claims that he has won decisively.

The official final tally of parliamentary results, as released by the ZEC, shows that Zanu-PF won 144 of 210 seats in parliament, giving the party a two-thirds majority. The MDC Alliance won 64 seats.

Opposition leaders have cried foul, claiming that the election was rigged in favour of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the ruling Zanu-PF.

On Tuesday, senior opposition official and former finance minister Tendai Biti claimed that he and Chamisa were being targeted for assassination by vice-president Constantine Chiwenga.

Chiwenga is the former army chief who, along with Mnangagwa, led the military coup in November 2017 which unseated Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa has blamed the opposition for the violent scenes.

“Incidents of wanton violence and hooliganism which broke out this afternoon in the capital come as a complete surprise,” Mnangagwa said, speaking on state television on Wednesday evening. “We hold the MDC Alliance and its whole leadership responsible for this disturbance of national peace which was meant to disrupt the electoral process.”

Earlier, a police chief Godwin Matanga said that former finance minister and senior MDC Alliance figure Tendai Biti and opposition youth leader Happymore Chidziva must immediately report to the police in connection with the violence.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more details emerge.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 2
  • comment-avatar
    Merlin 4 years ago

    Granted freedoms of democratic system after years of Poverty excesses Made white masters where not as black masters of those living in poverty collapsed economics forces new era that is democratic if it serves those in power that have the power to change democratic voting to serve their own needs facts of self delusion has been the pillow of strength that clouded minds of leaders can invoke their delusions of self grandeur of the people facts of change appears to be change of leader regards the peoples rights after so many injustices and so much hardship the people of Zimbabwe including mass killings and torture the idea that free elections could ever re-emerge the hounds that brought the nation too such a mess could never be conceived as free fair elections its a fact of life people know a con job when its embedded in their very minds as suffering huge injustices of political genocide and human rights abuse the right hand man whom topped prior leader whom executed many in time serving prior leader its impossibility that any real change will ever come its time the solders police arrested political figures who fixed election and executed duties as illegal election rigged now the people have treason charges against them and former leader regards deals made prior was in fact smoke screen to continue similar policies the army suppose to be defense of Zimbabwe and police supposed to uphold laws both should unite and make clear illegal interference of election process is a crime against the democratic rights of all people in Zimbabwe the freedoms of democracy has been tarnished for long enough its time to unite the nation with real election that people know their rights of democratic system is served under legal assemble and serving constitution that upholds the rights of all as freedoms of rights is paramount to any civilized constitutional government serving the people whom elect them as public servants not dictators should be greatest honor to serve the people whom place faith in leaders of nations should live by example by granting rights of freedoms to the people to live without constant fear of oppression to police hardened criminals and uphold the rights of children to grow up civilized may the light shine again for poor people of Zimbabwe not just serve the chosen few whilst starvation hunger and poverty is aloud to dictate miseries to most

  • comment-avatar
    Cynical 4 years ago

    Chiwenga determined to ascend to the Presidency at all costs !!!!!