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Observers react to army's use of violence in Zimbabwe's parliamentary poll

Observers react to army's use of violence in Zimbabwe's parliamentary poll

- The recent Zimbabwean parliamentary election has been occasioned by several cases of violence

- Observers from the Commonwealth have described the use of force by military officials as being excessive

- However, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said that he has been communicating with the leader of the opposition, Nelson Chamisa

Observers of Zimbabwe's parliamentary election from the Commonwealth on Thursday, August 2, decried the army’s resort to force to break up protests in Harare by opposition protesters who alleged that the poll was rigged by the ruling party ZANU-PF, Reuters reports.

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In addition to this, the government of Britain also said it was deeply concerned by the situation, while the United Nations had earlier called for peace from all sides after the violence which started on Monday, July 31.

Meanwhile, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said he had been talking to opposition leader Nelson Chamisa in an effort to calm the tension after clashes on the streets of Harare in which troops opened fire on opposition demonstrators, killing three.

Streets in the capital city were calm on Thursday, August 2, as many shops were under lock and key.

The recent unpleasant development in the country has no doubt punctured the joy over the army’s removal of Robert Mugabe in 2107 and the hope that Zimbabwe might be entering a new dispensation of democracy after decades of political and economic squalor.

The international community’s position on the election is critical to Harare’s efforts to mend relations after decades of violence under Mugabe and secure the billions of dollars of donor funding and investment needed to rebuild its economy.

Speaking on behalf of the Commonwealth, the former Ghanaian president, John Mahama, said: “We categorically denounce the excessive use of force against unarmed civilians.”

The Commonwealth also urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to expedite the announcement of the results of the presidential vote.

The observers had on Wednesday, August 1, reported a number of problems with the poll, including voter intimidation. A British foreign office minister, Harriet Baldwin, urged political leaders to ensure calm and restraint.

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The European Union (EU) remarked that the polls were competitive and freedom was respected, but that there was a lack of a “truly level playing field”.

Mnangagwa also called for an independent investigation into the violence and offered his condolences to the families of victims, claiming that he had been in contact with Chamisa.

Earlier, had reported that a man had been shot dead in the clashes between armed police operatives and protesters of the the opposition, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) alliance.

Reports claimed that live ammunition were found on the streets, despite claims that security officials were using rubber bullets. A helicopter had been seen hovering over Harare as armed troops were deployed into Zimbabwe's capital to try to disperse hundreds of opposition protesters.

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