Zimbabweans anxiously wait for election results as armed police gather with water cannons

Zimbabweans waited anxiously Friday for the end result of basic elections as dozens of armed police with water cannons guarded the nationwide results heart, the scene of lethal violence after the earlier vote 5 years in the past.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Fee mentioned it was nonetheless verifying results from near 12,500 polling stations throughout the nation and will begin releasing particulars Friday. Ends in the presidential balloting should not anticipated for a number of days.

Zimbabwe’s lengthy historical past of disputed elections has left many cautious of official results.

Voting closed Thursday after delays in distributing poll papers within the capital, Harare, and different city areas prompted President Emmerson Mnangagwa to increase voting by a day. Many citizens slept outdoors polling stations in city areas which are opposition strongholds to forged their ballots.

Mnangagwa, 80, is in search of a second and last five-year time period however faces a significant problem from Nelson Chamisa, a 45-year-old lawyer and pastor whom he narrowly defeated within the disputed 2018 election.

That is the second basic election because the ouster of longtime repressive ruler Robert Mugabe in a coup in 2017. It can choose the president, 350-member parliament and near 2,000 council seats countrywide. Greater than 6 million folks had been registered to vote, although turnout hasn’t been introduced.

Police on Thursday mentioned they arrested 41 staff with two accredited ballot monitoring teams, the Zimbabwe Elections Assist Community and the Election Useful resource Heart, and seized their computer systems. Police accused them of “subversive and legal actions” as a part of an opposition plan to manufacture the results.

However the Zimbabwe Legal professionals for Human Rights mentioned the employees had been finishing up their mandate as election observers.

The elections have been tainted by allegations of violence, intimidation and accusations by the opposition and human rights teams that Mnangagwa used the police and the courts to silence dissent, amid rising tensions as a consequence of a forex disaster, a pointy hike in meals costs, a weakening public well being system and insufficient numbers of formal jobs.

Each Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF occasion, which has dominated for a long time, and Chamisa’s Residents Coalition for Change events mentioned they had been headed for victory.

“It’s a decisive win!” Chamisa mentioned on social media.

“ZANU-PF takes early ballot lead,” the state-run Herald newspaper mentioned Friday, basing its report on a number of parliamentary results introduced Thursday.

The elections physique has requested folks to be affected person and wait for official results.

The scenario remained calm within the capital and no main unrest was reported in different elements of the nation.

However dozens of police with batons, tear gasoline canisters and weapons stood guard alongside with water cannons subsequent to the results heart. Others manned metal barricades on main roads resulting in the middle.

After the final elections, the federal government deployed troopers to place down protests on the results heart and elsewhere within the metropolis. Troopers fired stay rounds, killing six folks. The protests had been over delays within the announcement of presidential results and fears of election rigging.

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