Tense Zimbabwe Awaits Vote Results After Troops Fire On Protestors

A Zimbabwean voter shows his ink-stained finger after casting his ballot at a polling station 30 July 2018

With nearly three-quarters of results from the legislative vote tallied, President Emmerson Mnangagwa's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front had won 110 of the 210 directly elected seats in the National Assembly, electoral commission officials said in the capital, Harare, on Wednesday.

"We hold the opposition MDC Alliance and its whole leadership responsible for this disturbance of national peace, which was meant to disrupt the electoral process".

The ruling party, Zanu-PF, says it is ready to peacefully concede defeat in the event that it loses the presidential elections, whose results are expected soon.

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa also complained that his party struggled to get hold of a copy of the roll to check for evidence of fraud despite repeated requests, when ZANU-PF already had one.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said Wednesday that of 210 parliamentary seats, 153 had been counted with ZANU-PF winning 110 and the MDC Alliance 41.

On Wednesday foreign observers, including the European Union, who have been monitoring the elections for the first time since 2002, will issue their verdict on Monday's vote. The ruling Zanu-PF party are on course to retain their Parliamentary majority. At least three people were killed.

A credible vote is crucial to the lifting of global sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe so that its collapsed economy can recover.

Tensions spilled into violence when it became clear that Mr Mnangagwa, 75, was on course to be re-elected as president after his ruling Zanu-PF party secured more than two thirds of the seats in parliament.

It said that by using live ammunition against unarmed protesters, "the army has broken the very same rule of law that they should protect".

Zimbabwe soldiers walk past a broken shop window in Harare on August 2 after election-related protests turned violent and resulted in three deaths.

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The commission said it would release vote totals "sometime" on Thursday, even though it said most of the results "are here with us". The opposition has raised fears about possible vote-rigging of the kind that marked past elections under former leader Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabweans protest in downtown Harare.

Police also sealed off roads to the election body's offices as the protesters headed back to the Movement for Democratic Change offices.

The Police's Charity Charamba says the situation in the country, especially here in the capital of Harare, remains tense.

Mnangagwa had promised a free and fair vote after the military ushered him to power when Mugabe was forced to resign.

It said it had observed several problems, including media bias, voter intimidation and mistrust in the electoral commission, adding that there was an "improved political climate, but un-level playing field and lack of trust". "Because 29 years of oppressing the people of Zimbabwe, we are exhausted, we are saying we are exhausted".

It was the first time the military was back in the streets since Mugabe's ouster - at that time, they were welcomed by residents as liberators.

Police have said they requested the military's help because they were "unable to cope".

"It is unfortunate that this election has descended into bloodshed, which could have been avoided if security forces had exercised restraint against protesters", said Colm Ó Cuanacháin, Amnesty International's Acting Secretary General.

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