Normalcy starts to return Harare CBD

Tanaka Kadenge
The situation in Harare’s central business district is calm following yesterday violent protests by suspected MDC Alliance hooligans.

The clashes with security forces, who quickly deployed to protect innocent people and property, resulted in three deaths and several injuries.

The thugs took to the streets mid-morning Wednesday when it became clear that Zanu-PF was poised to secure a two-thirds majority in National Assembly elections held on Monday.

They started stoning buildings, assaulting people indiscriminately and burning vehicles, while a horde headed to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission National Results Centre in a bid to disrupt the poll verification process underway there. Another horde targeted the ruling Zanu-PF’s headquarters.

The police service – which had deployed 47 000 officers across the country for the elections – found itself stretched and invoked legal provisions to enlist the assistance of the military.

The security services were able to clear the suspected MDC Alliance hooligans from the CBD by early evening, and today the situation has remained calm in the capital.

This morning, central Harare was uncharacteristically quiet as many residents opted for safety from the thugs in their homes, though human movement increased as the day progressed.

The police have maintained a solid presence at the opposition headquarters and the ZEC National Results Centre, as well at the election management body’s offices.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the MDC Alliance leadership should take responsibility for the violence, adding: “The Alliance leadership has forthwith, to remove its supporters from the streets so peace returns to  our country, in asking them to take a necessary step, government is reminding them of their duties as responsible political players and as citizens.”

Addressing the nation on the violence, police chief spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said: “We are urging members of the public to refrain from committing acts of violence. We are urging members of the public to remain calm, refrain from violence and also respect the rule of law in the country.”

The violence is a culmination of utterances by MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa over recent months in which he threatened violence if the elections did not go his way.

While Zanu-PF has swept the National Assembly vote, results for the Presidential election are being verified and will be announced by August 4, 2018 as per the law.

The country had witnessed a peaceful environment during the pre-campaign and actual voting day, before the opposition aligned hooligans instigated mayhem yesterday.

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