Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters gathered in the capital Harare on Wednesday, August 1, as the country awaits the release of official results from the July 30 presidential election. Protesters reportedly threw stones at police forces deployed throughout the capital, notably around the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) building. Clashes between supporters of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have also been reported in the capital on Wednesday, with witnesses reporting the sound of gunfire and a bus set ablaze. At least one person was killed during the protests and others are likely to be injured. Opposition supporters are accusing the ruling party of trying to rig the result of the presidential elections. The Electoral Commission announced that they will start announcing the presidential elections results on Thursday, August 2, as agents of all the 23 candidates must first verify the results. European observers expressed their concern about the delay in releasing the presidential results. The ZEC has five days from Monday, July 30, to release the results. Further protests and related clashes are likely in the coming hours and days.
Meanwhile, preliminary results from Monday's parliamentary vote were released by the ZEC on the morning of August 1, with the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZAN-PF) apparently securing 109 seats and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) winning 41, out of the 210-seat House of Assembly; two seats were won by smaller parties and 58 are yet to be declared. Final results are expected to be confirmed by the end of the day on Wednesday.
After presidential and parliamentary elections on July 30, a presidential runoff election, if required, will be held on September 8. The elections are the first in Zimbabwe since Robert Mugabe stepped down as president in November 2017 after 37 years in power. According to the MDC, the ZEC refused to allow the party access to voter rolls or the name of the company responsible for printing ballot papers. Opposition leaders have said the elections are not credible if they do not know how many ballots have been printed or who was in possession of them. Several pre-election MDC protests were banned by police officials.
Individuals in Zimbabwe, particularly in Harare, are advised to avoid large public gatherings, even those that seem peaceful, and to monitor local developments.
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