As of Thursday, August 2, the army ordered shopkeepers in the capital Harare to close and leave the center of the capital until further notice. Tensions remain palpable in Zimbabwe, notably in Harare, as the country awaits results from the July 30 general elections. The day prior, the military opened fire on protesters who had gathered to denounce alleged electoral fraud and soldiers remain deployed in the capital.
Police have reportedly prohibited all public gatherings to curb protest activity. Nevertheless, additional protests and consequent traffic disruptions are likely in Harare in the coming hours and days. The government has pledged to enforce a security crackdown to prevent unrest; as such, further deadly clashes between opposition protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has stated that it will release further information on Thursday regarding when election results will be announced. Preliminary results, released on August 1, indicate that the ruling party won a majority of seats in the parliament.
On August 1, authorities deployed the army to disperse opposition protesters in Harare, with security forces firing live ammunition at demonstrators and killing at least three people. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), has called for calm and has blamed leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party for the violence, claiming the unrest is aimed at "[disrupting] the electoral process."
A presidential runoff election, if required, will be held on September 8. These elections were the first in Zimbabwe since Robert Mugabe stepped down as president in November 2017 after 37 years in power.
Individuals in Harare are advised to continue to avoid unnecessary movements until the situation has stabilized. Those in Zimbabwe more generally are advised to avoid all public gatherings, even those that seem peaceful, and to monitor local developments.
Copyright and Disclaimer