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The Latest: Streets quiet in Zimbabwe capital after results

August 2, 2018
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Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairwoman Qhubani Moyo, center, announces the results of the presidential elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, Friday Aug. 3, 2018. Emmerson Mnangagwa, of ZANU-PF party was declared winner in the first vote after the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The Latest on Zimbabwe’s election (all times local):

1:40 a.m.

The streets of Zimbabwe’s capital are quiet with a heavy presence of military and police after President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner of Monday’s election.

While the vote was peaceful, a military crackdown on protesting opposition supporters on Wednesday has left a chill. Soldiers in the hours ahead of the announcement told people to clear the center of Harare.

A few Mnangagwa supporters are noisily celebrating near the entrance to the conference center where results were announced.

Charity Manyeruke, who teaches political science at the University of Zimbabwe, says she is delighted. “There is continuity, stability,” she says. “Zimbabwe is poised for nation-building.”

Meanwhile the chair of the opposition MDC party, Morgen Komichi, is calling the elections “fraudulent” and says they will challenge the results in the courts.

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1:15 a.m.

Zimbabwe’s president says he is “humbled” by his win in Monday’s election, the first after the fall of his former mentor Robert Mugabe.

“Though we may have been divided at the polls, we are united in our dreams,” President Emmerson Mnangagwa says on Twitter.

The opposition has alleged vote-rigging and questioned why the presidential results were counted first but announced last. Main opposition challenger Nelson Chamisa received 44.3 percent of the vote while Mnangagwa received 50.8 percent.

“This is a new beginning,” Mnangagwa says after a week that began with a peaceful election day but spiraled into deadly violence in the capital as the military broke up protests. “Let us join hands, in peace, unity & love, & together build a new Zimbabwe for all!”

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1:10 a.m.

Zimbabwe’s justice minister says “the majority of Zimbabweans are working with us, save for a few who want to incite violence.”

Ziyambi Ziyambi spoke shortly after the electoral commission announced that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had won Monday’s election.

The ruling party maintains control of the government in the first vote after the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe. The opposition has alleged vote-rigging and vowed to hold peaceful protests to reject any vote they see as flawed.

The justice minister says Mnangagwa has done a “fantastic” job since becoming president after longtime leader Robert Mugabe stepped down in November under military pressure amid a ruling party feud.

“He gave freedoms to everyone,” Ziyambi says.

The minister also says an investigation will uncover “the culprits that caused the mayhem” in the capital on Wednesday and that they would be prosecuted. The opposition and international election observers have criticized the military’s “excessive” force in breaking up protests. Six people died.

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12:50 a.m.

Zimbabwe’s electoral commission says President Emmerson Mnangagwa has won Monday’s election as the ruling party maintains control of the government in the first vote after the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe.

The opposition is almost certain to challenge the results in the courts or in the streets. Mnangagwa received 50.8 percent of the vote while main opposition challenger Nelson Chamisa received 44.3 percent.

While election day was peaceful in a break from the past, deadly violence on Wednesday against people protesting alleged vote-rigging reminded many Zimbabweans of the decades of military-backed repression under Mugabe.

Western election observers who were banned in previous votes have expressed concern at the military’s “excessive” force in the capital, Harare. Their assessments of the election are crucial to the lifting of international sanctions on a country whose economy collapsed years ago.

Shortly before the announcement early Friday, a man who said he was the chief agent with Chamisa’s opposition alliance claimed that they had not signed the election results and rejected them. Police asked him to step aside.

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11:25 p.m.

Zimbabwe’s electoral commission says President Emmerson Mnangagwa leads election returns with nine of 10 provinces announced, but it has requested an hour’s break before the final announcement.

Mnangagwa leads with 2.1 million votes to 1.9 million for his main challenger Nelson Chamisa, whose strongholds in the cities of Harare and Bulawayo have already been counted.

Commission chair Priscilla Chigumba says officials will return to announce results from the 10th province, Mashonaland West. The province is considered a stronghold of the ruling ZANU-PF party.

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9:30 p.m.

The streets of Zimbabwe’s capital are unusually quiet as the electoral commission prepares to announce the first results of Monday’s presidential election.

Soldiers circulated in Harare earlier in the day telling vendors and others to clear the city center. Residents are uneasy after Wednesday’s deadly violence as the military moved in and used gunfire to disperse protests over alleged vote-rigging.

International observers have condemned the military’s “excessive” force and warned that delays in announcing election results will only feed concerns about possible manipulation.

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8:30 p.m.

Zimbabwe’s president says international election observers have told him they are “disappointed with the events of yesterday” that left at least six people dead.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa tells the state broadcaster the observers met with him and expressed their concerns about Wednesday’s chaos in the capital when the military dispersed opposition supporters with gunfire.

The observers have released a joint statement condemning the “excessive use of force” by the military and urging that the results of Monday’s presidential election be released as soon as possible.

The president stressed the observers’ earlier assessment that the vote was peaceful. “I’m happy that they’re very objective,” Mnangagwa said.

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6:30 p.m.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Nelson Chamisa says police have raided opposition headquarters in the capital and seized computers, while police say 18 people in the offices were arrested.

The developments come a few hours before Zimbabwe’s electoral commission is expected to start releasing the results of Monday’s presidential election.

Chamisa alleges that police were looking for what he called evidence of vote-rigging, but he says the evidence already had been moved to a “safe house.”

Both the opposition and ruling party have claimed victory in the presidential race, the first since the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe.

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6:15 p.m.

Zimbabwe police say the death toll from Wednesday’s election-related violence in the capital has risen to six after three people died from their injuries.

Police tell reporters that at least 14 people were injured in the chaos. Zimbabweans and the international community have condemned the “excessive” force of the military as it swept in with gunfire to disperse opposition supporters.

The police say 18 people have been arrested. They claim that about 4,000 opposition supporters were “besieging” the downtown, with some carrying iron bars and stones. The opposition says the demonstrators were not organized by their alliance but simply were citizens.

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6:05 p.m.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Nelson Chamisa says the country’s electoral commission has known the results of the presidential election since Monday night that that “announcing is just a formality.” He is claiming victory.

Chamisa tells reporters that the commission has undermined its credibility by delaying the announcement of the results of Monday’s vote. The commission has said it will start announcing presidential results at 10 p.m.

International election observers in a joint statement have called on the commission to release the results as soon as possible after some noted that the presidential results were the first to be counted but the last to be shared publicly.

Chamisa also says he is shocked at President Emmerson Mnangagwa blaming the opposition for Wednesday’s deadly violence in which the military fired on election-related protests. The opposition leader says the demonstrators were not organized by his alliance but simply were citizens.

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5 p.m.

A lawyer in Zimbabwe says police are investigating opposition presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa and others for allegedly inciting violence.

Kumbirai Mafunda confirms that a search warrant was issued on Wednesday, when soldiers in Harare fired live rounds to disperse opposition protesters, some of whom were rioting.

A copy of the warrant, seen by The Associated Press, says Chamisa and several others including opposition politician Tendai Biti are suspected of the crimes of “possession of dangerous weapons” and “public violence.”

The warrant authorizes police to search for and confiscate any evidence as part of their investigation.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the ruling ZANU-PF party have accused the opposition of inciting the deadly violence as Zimbabwe awaits the results of Monday’s election. The opposition, human rights activists and some election observers have condemned the “excessive” force in crushing the protests.

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4:40 p.m.

Zimbabwe’s electoral commission says it will start announcing the results of the presidential election “from 10 p.m.”

The announcement comes after international election observers urged the release of the results as soon as possible, saying delays will increase speculation that results were manipulated.

The commission by law has five days from Monday’s vote to announce the results. Both observers and the opposition have asked why presidential results were counted first but are being released last.

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4:25 p.m.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Nelson Chamisa is harshly criticizing what he calls the “violent government” after a military crackdown on his supporters, some of whom were rioting during protests.

Chamisa spoke during a visit to a Harare hospital where some of the injured and three dead were taken after Wednesday’s election-related violence in the streets of the capital.

“We have unarmed civilians being attacked,” Chamisa said. “Is that normal even in a banana republic?”

He said he has not received any communication from President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has said his government was in touch with Chamisa about calming tensions. Mnangagwa earlier accused the opposition of inciting the violence to disrupt the electoral process.

Chamisa called for calm and again said he is “very confident we are forming the next government.”

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4:15 p.m.

Britain says its ambassador to Zimbabwe has met with government ministers and “made clear that the military should be removed from the streets of Harare.”

An embassy statement also condemns the “excessive use of force by the security forces towards demonstrators” in the capital on Wednesday. Zimbabwe’s government has said three people were killed and the British statement says “many” were injured.

The statement welcomes President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s comments announcing an independent investigation into the violence in Harare. It says all political leaders have a responsibility to avoid raising tensions or inciting violence.

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3:25 p.m.

Zimbabwe’s ruling party is signaling victory in the presidential election and telling the opposition that “we should all lose graciously.”

Spokesman Paul Mangwana also tells reporters that opposition supporters were responsible for Wednesday’s deadly violence in the capital in which the military swept in with gunfire to disperse protests over alleged rigging in Monday’s vote.

He says that “it is not entirely true protesters were not armed.”

Mangwana also urges supporters of the ZANU-PF ruling party to “celebrate our victory with restraint.”

Zimbabwe’s electoral commission has said the results of the presidential election will be announced “very soon,” while a new joint statement by international election observer missions urges the quick release of those results.

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3:05 p.m.

A new joint statement by foreign election observers in Zimbabwe is expressing “grave concern” over deadly violence after Monday’s vote and urging the electoral commission to release the full results “expeditiously” and in a transparent manner.

The statement by European Union, U.S., Commonwealth, African Union and other observer missions denounces the “excessive use of force” used to calm Wednesday’s protests in the capital and urges Zimbabwe’s army and police to use restraint.

The international observers call on political parties for peace and condemn vandalism.

Zimbabwean authorities say the military will remain deployed until “this situation is over.”

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1:20 p.m.

Human rights activists in Zimbabwe are condemning the military crackdown on opposition protesters in the capital, saying it raises questions about whether the current government is any different from that of former leader Robert Mugabe.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum says member groups saw soldiers firing “randomly” in downtown Harare and beating up bystanders who were not involved in the protests on Wednesday. Three people were killed in the election-related violence.

The activists are denouncing violent protests but calling the government’s reaction illegal and “grossly disproportionate to the violence that it sought to contain.”

Some government supporters have accused opposition leaders of inciting violence by prematurely declaring victory in the presidential election. Official results have not yet been announced.

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1:05 p.m.

Britain’s minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, says she is “deeply concerned” about the deadly violence in Zimbabwe’s capital and she calls on political leaders to ensure calm and restraint “at this critical moment.”

Her statement on Twitter also urges British citizens in Zimbabwe to check for travel alerts on the changing situation.

The U.S. Embassy in Harare also has issued a statement urging Americans to avoid the central business district after Wednesday’s chaos in which the military entered downtown Harare and opened fire to disperse opposition supporters.

The U.S. statement says “the political situation in Zimbabwe remains uncertain.”

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12:45 p.m.

Zimbabwe’s electoral commission has told reporters it will announce the results of Monday’s presidential election “very soon.”

Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster earlier tweeted that the commission said it would announce those results at 9 p.m. That tweet has been deleted.

By law the commission has five days from Monday’s election to release the results.

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12:10 p.m.

China is calling Zimbabwe’s election “orderly” and urges Zimbabweans to maintain peace and stability after Wednesday’s violence in the capital left three people dead.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says Zimbabwe invited China to send an election observer mission and the mission found Zimbabweans to be “well-engaged” in Monday’s vote.

China has had growing influence in the southern African nation.

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12:05 p.m.

The European Union is appealing for calm in Zimbabwe a day after deadly violence linked to Monday’s elections that the EU says were marred by “shortcomings.”

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini’s office says in a statement that “we appeal for calm and restraint on all sides and for protests to be conducted according to the law.”

The statement notes that “a number of shortcomings were observed, including the lack of a truly level playing field” surrounding the vote.

It calls for the final election results to be “shared in a manner which provides for full transparency and accountability, including a breakdown by polling station.”

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11:50 a.m.

Zimbabwe’s electoral commission says it will announce the results of the presidential election at 9 p.m., after Western election observers urged their immediate release to avoid further tensions.

The commission is urging the public to remain calm and condemns the violence in the capital, Harare, on Wednesday that left three people dead.

Both the opposition and Western election observers have questioned why the presidential results, which were the first counted, are the last to be shared publicly. The opposition has raised fears about possible vote-rigging of the kind that marked past elections under former leader Robert Mugabe.

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11:40 a.m.

The head of the Commonwealth election observers in Zimbabwe is condemning what he calls the “excessive use of force against unarmed civilians” by security forces.

John Dramani Mahama, former president of Ghana, urges all sides to exercise restraint a day after election-related violence killed three people in Harare, the capital.

Soldiers fired live rounds to disperse opposition demonstrators, some of whom were throwing rocks and destroying property.

Mahama urges the prompt release of presidential results from Monday’s election, saying delays will increase speculation that results were manipulated.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission by law has until Saturday to release the final election tally. It says the vote was free and fair and that parliamentary results show that the ruling party won a majority.

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11:30 a.m.

Zimbabwean soldiers are circulating in the capital, Harare, and telling vendors and other people to leave the city center by noon.

It is not yet clear when the electoral commission will announce the next set of results from Monday’s election. International observers from the Commonwealth and elsewhere are urging the release of the presidential results as soon as possible.

There is a heavy police presence around the headquarters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party a day after the military swept into the city to disperse its supporters from protesting. Three people were killed.

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10:45 a.m.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa says his government has been in touch with the main opposition leader in an attempt to ease tensions after election-related violence in the country’s capital.

Mnangagwa on Thursday also tweeted that he wants an “independent investigation” into the clashes in Harare, saying those responsible “should be identified and brought to justice.”

Three people were killed after soldiers moved into Harare on Wednesday, firing live rounds and beating protesters.

The government has condemned the opposition for the protesters who threw rocks and set fires after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said the ruling ZANU-PF party had won a parliamentary majority in the election Monday.

The opposition believes it was cheated of victory by a commission allegedly biased toward the government. The electoral commission says the vote was credible.

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