HARARE: Zimbabwe’s government vowed Wednesday to crack down on opposition dissent after three people were killed when protests against alleged electoral fraud were met by live ammunition, denting hopes of a new era for the country.
Soldiers fired on demonstrators during opposition MDC party protests in downtown Harare, AFP witnesses saw, with one man shot dead in the stomach.
Monday’s polls — the first since autocratic president Robert Mugabe was forced out by a brief military takeover in November — had been meant to turn the page on years of violence-marred elections and brutal repression of dissent.
But the mood quickly descended into anger and chaos as supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition declared they were being cheated in the election count.
“You said you were better than Mugabe — you are the picture of Mugabe,” shouted one young male protester wearing a white T-shirt. “We need security for the people.”
Official results showed that the ruling ZANU-PF party had easily won most seats in the parliamentary ballot — strengthening President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s prospects of holding onto power in the key presidential race.
MDC supporters, who say their leader Nelson Chamisa won the vote, burnt tyres and pulled down street signs as protests spread from the party headquarters in the capital Harare.