Clashes in Zimbabwe between opposition, supporters, police

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Automatic gunfire was heard on the streets of the Zimbabwean capital Harare on Wednesday, after opposition supporters clashed with police, witnesses said.

Police had earlier fired tear gas to disperse stone-throwing protesters in Harare as the main opposition leader accused the ruling party of trying to rig the result of Zimbabwe’s election.

Crowds burnt tyres in the centre of the capital Harare, blocking some streets and engaging in running battles with police who fired water cannon to disperse the protestors.

The leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Nelson Chamisa said he had won the “popular vote” in Monday’s parliamentary and presidential in which he faced off against Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa from the ruling Zanu-PF party.

EU calls for more transparency

European Union observers also questioned the conduct of Zimbabwe’s first election since Robert Mugabe was forced to resign following a de facto coup in November after nearly 40 years in power.

They expressed concern about delays in releasing the results of the presidential contest.

The EU’s Chief Observer, Elmar Brok, said he did not yet know if the shortcomings would have a material effect on the outcome of the vote, and he criticised the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for being at times “one-sided”.

The EU’s assessment is critical in determining whether Zimbabwe can shed its pariah status as it could help attract investors and trigger an economic revival.

Hauwa Mustapha