Tense Zimbabwe Awaits Vote Results After Troops Fire On Protestors

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Mr Mnangagwa, whose ruling Zanu PF party yesterday claimed a large majority in disputed parliamentary elections, said he had been in contact with the leader of the opposition MDC Alliance in a bid to defuse tensions.

According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) results, Mnangagwa's ZANU-PF was cruising to victory after claiming 109 seats in a 210-seat parliament.

The ruling ZANU-PF party won a majority of seats in Parliament, the electoral commission said. Mr Chamisa tweeted on Wednesday.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged Zimbabwe's politicians to exercise restraint, while United Kingdom foreign office minister Harriett Baldwin said she was "deeply concerned" by the violence. It cited concerns that the voters' roll had not been released prior to the poll, about a fifth of results from the presidential ballot were not published outside polling stations and that some voters had been "deliberately displaced".

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, 40, said the presidential results were fraudulent.

The assessments are critical for Zimbabwe, because foreign governments, including the USA, have made any financial aid conditional on holding democratic elections.

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

Even before the violence, European Union observers questioned the conduct of the presidential and parliamentary vote, the first since Mugabe's forced resignation after almost 40 years in charge of the southern African nation.

The deployment of soldiers and their beating of unarmed protesters tarnished incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa's attempts to rid Zimbabwe's derelict status after decades of repression under his predecessor, Robert Mugabe.

A USA team said the election "fell short of what was needed", citing ZEC's lack of independence, the use of food, fertiliser and seed to buy votes and the ballot design which gave President Mnangagwa an inexplicably prominent position.

The party faithful had gathered at MDC headquarters in the early morning and sung, chanted and held their hands high in a collective act of protest.

One of the people who was killed by bullets sprayed by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) was identified by the public on social media as a local shop owner who had just closed her store and was walking to her auto.

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The EU mission said this is a preliminary statement and more is expected on how the election results are handled and announced.

ZEC said the final results of the presidential race may not be known until Saturday.

The opposition party won in most urban centres. "We're continuing to closely monitor the situation", she said. "We have won this one together".

However, many analysts have said they expect a win for Mnangagwa, a Zanu-PF veteran who replaced long-time president Robert Mugabe after he was ousted in a military coup in 2017.

"It seems the results so far could indicate the will of the people, especially the rural population, to be ruled by ZANU-PF", said Ruhanya. "Let me also warn such individuals and groups that no one is above the law", Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu said.

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