Zimbabwean leader appeals for calm after election violence

Zimbwabwe polling agencies at Zengeza 3 High School in Zengeza outside Harare making ballot boxes available

Zimbwabwe polling agencies at Zengeza 3 High School in Zengeza outside Harare making ballot boxes available

Spokesperson Paul Mangwana also tells reporters that opposition supporters were responsible for Wednesday's deadly violence in the capital in which the military swept in with gunfire to disperse protests over alleged rigging in Monday's vote.

Pfigu said he was optimistic on election day for the country's first vote without Mugabe, who ruled for almost four decades, on the ballot.

He said: "SADC tell me, what you observing, what are you observing?"

"We categorically denounce the excessive use of force against unarmed civilians", the group said in a statement.

ZEC published the first tranche of results today, showing a majority for president Emmerson Mnangagwa's party in the first election since Robert Mugabe was ousted previous year.

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Mnangagwa, a former deputy president who succeeded Mugabe after a military takeover in November, blamed the opposition for the violence and said it was "meant to disrupt the electoral process", the state broadcaster reported.

They also called for improvements in the counting procedure.

In his first public appearance since the vote on Monday, Chamisa urged his supporters to be calm and await "massive celebrations" for his victory.

Many shops were closed on Thursday morning and the pavements quiet.

"If they've got the smoking gun, then they must hold the gun and quickly put forward concrete evidence to support their claims that the election has been rigged", Tendi said.

In a late-night press conference on Wednesday, Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu said further protests would not be tolerated.

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'The opposition. are testing our resolve and I think they are making a big mistake, ' he said.

The MDC opposition party condemned the army for opening fire on protesters "for no apparent reason".

Tension is growing in Zimbabwe after the country's main opposition party said it will dispute official election results showing that the ruling Zanu-PF party is headed for a two-thirds majority in parliament.

As Zimbabweans waited on tenterhooks to learn the victor of the country's presidential election, a deadly crackdown on opposition protesters in the capital spurred fears of a return to the days of authoritarian rule under Robert Mugabe. Official results have not yet been announced.

According to the Electoral Act, results are supposed to be released within five days and ZEC has until Saturday to release the results.

Traditional community chiefs have traditionally been close to the ZANU-PF, though a growing number have been at loggerheads with Mnangagwa's government.

A credible and peaceful vote was meant to end Zimbabwe's global isolation and draw in foreign investment to revive the shattered economy.

The opposition cries foul, alleging fraud, and European Union observers say the elections were held on an "un-level playing field".

"It is imperative that the results process is credible and transparent, with a full breakdown by polling station so that confidence in the outcome can be assured", Brok said. "Because 29 years of oppressing the people of Zimbabwe, we are exhausted, we are saying we are exhausted".

Both the opposition and Western election observers have questioned why the presidential results, which were the first counted, are the last to be shared publicly.

But the one thing Zimbabweans want right now more than anything is an answer: who has won the election, officially. "No amount of results manipulation will alter your will", he tweeted before the army was deployed.

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