Zimbabwe says presidential election results to be released 'very soon'

The Electoral Commission has not yet given any clarity on who might become the country's next president

The peace and calm referred to in Zimbabwe, right through to the long-awaited Election Day, Monday, ended abruptly Wednesday when opposition supporters demanding release of results from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), clashed with the once beloved army, in the streets of Harare.

The government said the army was deployed in the capital on Wednesday to help police restore order, as protesters took to the streets, accusing the electoral commission of rigging the vote in favour of the ruling party.

The presidential race has pitted 75-year-old Mnangagwa, Mugabe's former ally in the ruling ZANU-PF party, against the MDC's leader, Nelson Chamisa, 35 years his junior.

A joint statement by worldwide election observers including the United States, the European Union, the African Union, and the United Kingdom expressed "grave concern" over the violence and urged the electoral commission to release the results "expeditiously".

If no presidential candidate wins at least 50 percent of the ballots cast in the first round, a run-off is scheduled for September 8.

The ruling ZANU-PF party has won two thirds of the seats and will dominate the assembly - as they have done since the country's independence from Britain in 1980. At least three people were killed.

The observers had been invited by the ZANU-PF's leader, President Emmerson Mnangagwa as part of his "guarantee" of a "free, fair and transparent election" and their verdict on the poll was mixed.

"You said you were better than Mugabe you are the picture of Mugabe", shouted one young male protester wearing a white T-shirt.

His Excellency Minister Augusto said that as part of its observation process, the SEOM engaged a wide range of stakeholders including state and non-state actors such as the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe; Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Political Parties, Council of Chiefs, media, representatives of regional and worldwide organizations, academia, faith-based organizations; and civil society as well as persons with disabilities, women and youth. Elections under Mugabe's 37-year rule were marked by violence against the opposition and alleged fraud.

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The head of the Commonwealth election observers in Zimbabwe, former Ghana leader John Dramani Mahama, condemned what he called the "excessive use of force" against protesters and said all sides should act with restraint.

Members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party are claiming that the elections have been rigged.

"We expect that these results will become a reflection of what we are expecting in the presidential elections".

Mr Mnangagwa ordered an "independent investigation" into the...

This photo taken on January 7, 2017 shows Zimbabwe's then acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaking during a funeral ceremony in Harare. "They may be the ones that can pressure for some kind of accountability and what really happened here", Cooke said.

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

Mnangagwa had promised a free and fair vote after the military ushered him to power with a credible vote meant to end Zimbabwe's worldwide isolation and attract foreign investment to revive the shattered economy.

But the dispute over the conduct of the elections and the subsequent violence has punctured the euphoria over the army's removal of longtime strongman Robert Mugabe last November and the hope that Zimbabwe might be entering a new era of democracy after decades of political repression and economic ruin.

Zimbabwean authorities now say the military will remain in the capital until "this situation is over".

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