Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he seeks to "peacefully" end election crisis while his government vowed to enforce a security crackdown to prevent further unrest in Harare.
Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Thursday he had been talking to opposition leader Nelson Chamisa to try to defuse tension over this week's presidential election after violent clashes on the streets of Harare.
Writing on Twitter, Mnangagwa also called for an independent investigation into the violence, in which three people were killed after soldiers were deployed to the streets of the capital on Wednesday.
He said that those responsible should be identified and brought to justice and urged political leaders to advocate for peace "as this day that ended in tragedy comes to a close."
Shortly after the violence erupted on Wednesday President Emmerson Mnangagwa took to Twitter, blaming the opposition for deadly violence in the capital that he said was "meant to disrupt the electoral process."
It is also more important than ever that we are united, and commit to settling our differences peacefully and respectfully, and within the confines of the law.— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) August 2, 2018
"We hold the opposition MDC Alliance and its whole leadership responsible for this disturbance of national peace," he said, adding the government "went out of its way" to try to ensure the elections were peaceful.
Police seek military help
Zimbabwe's police say they have invoked a strict security act that forbids public gatherings after security forces swept into the capital to disperse hundreds of opposition protesters angry over Monday's election results.
Police have said they requested the military's help because they were "unable to cope."
Zimbabwean authorities say the military will remain in the capital until "this situation is over," a reference to opposition protests over alleged manipulation of Monday's election results.
Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu accused the opposition of using the presence of international election observers to "grandstand" and cause "anarchy."
Zimbabweans were shocked after the military swept into Harare and opened fire to disperse opposition supporters. At least three people were killed.
TRT World spoke to Harare-based journalist Columbus Mavhunga for the latest. He says the situation on the ground remains tense and talks about the outcome of the election commission press conference.
The deployment of soldiers and their beating of unarmed protesters set back Mnangagwa's efforts to shed Zimbabwe's pariah status after decades of repression under Robert Mugabe, who was ousted in a coup in November.
The MDC, which accused the election authorities of falsifying results, said the army had opened fire "for no apparent reason" leading to the deaths of unarmed civilians.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has told reporters that Chamisa was "shocked" by the events in Harare.
The opposition said it condemns violence in all its forms.
Amnesty International called on the government to launch a prompt investigation into the army's actions.
"It is unfortunate that this election has descended into bloodshed, which could have been avoided if security forces had exercised restraint against protesters," the London-based human rights organisation said.
It said that by using live ammunition against unarmed protesters, "the army has broken the very same rule of law that they should protect."
Despite promises by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that they would soon state when exactly they would release the results of the presidential election, opposition supporters have said they would continue to protest. The delay in results has raised suspicions of electoral fraud and sent angry protesters to the streets where they were confronted by the military. TRT World’s Reagan Des Vignes reports.
The Commonwealth's observer mission said on Thursday Zimbabwe's security services used excessive force to break up protests in Harare over this week's presidential election.
"We categorically denounce the excessive use of force against unarmed civilians," former Ghanaian president John Mahama said in a statement on behalf of the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth also urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to expedite the announcement of the results of the presidential vote.