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Zimbabwe opposition leader Chamisa claims he won election, result due soon


HARARE     –     Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa claimed victory in Zimbabwe’s disputed presidential election on Thursday as an anxious nation awaited an official announcement of the result three days after voting.

Chamisa said President Emmerson Mnangagwa knew he had lost otherwise the results would have been announced by now.

International observers urged the electoral commission to release results as soon as possible to avoid further violence after three people were killed on Wednesday in clashes between security forces and opposition supporters.

The commission said it would start announcing the results of the presidential election – Zimbabwe’s first since the army ousted Robert Mugabe last November to end four decades of authoritarian rule – from 10 p.m. local time (2000 GMT).

Earlier on Thursday, police sealed off the headquarters of Chamisa’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and troops cleared the streets of the capital, despite calls from foreign governments and international organisations for calm and for political leaders to show restraint.

In his first public appearance since the vote on Monday, Chamisa urged his supporters to be calm and await “massive celebrations” for his victory. He could not give any figures because he would be breaking the law, he said.

“This government does not respect life,” he told reporters.

“Mr Mnangagwa knows it that he has lost this election. If he had won this election the result will have been announced long back but they are trying to massage the figures to try to advance fictious and fallacious results. We know the results.”

On Wednesday, Chamisa accused the ruling ZANU-PF party of rigging the poll, although he offered no evidence.

Opposition supporters took to the streets to demonstrate and three were shot dead by soldiers amid clashes.

The army crackdown has punctured the euphoria that followed its removal of Mugabe, and fuelled suspicions that the generals who launched the coup remain Zimbabwe’s de facto rulers.(Reuters)

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