MDC supporters erupt in Harare, as Biti claims assasination attempts

MDC supporters erupt in Harare, as Biti claims assasination attempts

Automatic gunfire crackled in the streets of Zimbabwe's capital on Wednesday as soldiers stepped in to disperse protesters who clashed with police after the main opposition leader accused the ruling party of trying to rig the country's election.

Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party has won the majority of seats in parliament after sweeping rural constituencies by huge margins, official results showed, setting the stage for President Emmerson Mnangagwa's victory.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Zimbabwe's political leaders and people to exercise restraint and reject any form of violence.

Has promised to rebuild the country's devastated economy, but has been criticised for making extravagant promises - such as the introduction of a high-speed bullet train and bringing the Olympics to Zimbabwe.

Truckloads of anti-riot officers were called in to help clear the streets as tensions escalated.

With elections under Mr Mugabe marred by fraud and often deadly violence, Mr Mnangagwa had promised a free and fair vote and invited global observers.

"The strategy is meant to prepare Zimbabwe mentally to accept fake presidential results".

The vote attracted a high turnout of 70% and was monitored by global observers.

Zimbabwe's electoral commission said it would say "sometime tomorrow" when it can start announcing the results of the race pitting President Emmerson Mnangagwa against opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, even though it said most of the results "are here with us".

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But the MDC earlier accused the election commission of deliberately delaying results in favour of the ruling party. They believe the election has been stolen, and are demanding the MDC be announced as victor.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has until Saturday to announce the results but its chairwoman, Priscilla Chigumba, said she expects the announcement to be made well within that deadline.

If neither candidate receives an outright majority, there will be a September 8 runoff.

The ZEC "seeks to release results to buy time and reverse the people's presidential election victory", Chamisa said on his Twitter account.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said the three people killed were yet to be identified.

"We won the popular vote and will defend it!"

This is the first time in 16 years that the government has allowed European Union and USA election monitors into the country.

African observer groups said the vote was peaceful, orderly and largely in line with the law but raised concerns about bias of state media and the commission.

Thousands of supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change chanted anti-government slogans in Harare and faced off against a heavy police presence, fearing that their candidate, Nelson Chamisa, would have the election stolen from him. They need a good change.

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