Results of the July 30 presidential election were released from nine out of ten provinces late on Thursday, August 2, with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) indicating that incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa holds a wide enough lead to win the presidential election. As of 23:30 (local time) the count stands at 2.1 million votes for Mnangagwa and 1.9 million votes for his main rival Nelson Chamisa. The ZEC has said it will release results from the tenth province, Mashonaland West, shortly; however, Mashonaland West is considered a stronghold of Mnangagwa's ZANU-PF party. Both Mnangagwa and Chamisa had claimed victory on Thursday, prior to the official release of results.
Police have previously prohibited all public gatherings to curb protest activity. However, regardless of the outcome of the electoral tally, political protests and demonstrations are expected in Zimbabwe over the coming hours and days, especially in Harare, despite the heavy deployment of security forces in the capital and the earlier closure of shops in the city center on August 2. 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.
On August 1, authorities deployed the army to disperse opposition protesters in Harare, with security forces firing live ammunition at demonstrators, killing at least six 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 no candidate wins 50 percent of the vote, 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.
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