Zimbabwean opposition decries post-election harassment by army

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Harare, Aug 7 (IANS) The main opposition party of Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has denounced harassment and persecution by the army against party members.

The party on Monday said the security forces’ harassment is an attempt to prevent the MDC from challenging the results of the July 30 presidential election, Efe news reported.

The MDC and local human rights groups have reported beatings, intimidation and kidnappings by military personnel in the capital Harare and other parts of the country.

MDC spokesman Nkululeko Sibanda said at a press conference in Harare that the aim of the current repression is to ensure that the presidential election results cannot be challenged.

The presidential candidate for the MDC, Nelson Chamisa, was officially declared to have lost the election to incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling Zanu-PF party, who garnered more than 2.4 million votes (50.8 per cent), thus avoiding the need to hold run-off election.

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Chamisa has stressed that he won the July 30 vote, denouncing the “unverified fake results” reported by election authorities.

MDC spokesman Nkululeko Sibanda pointed out that Chamisa has a large legal team which plans to appeal the election results, although the team has not yet taken any firm steps three days after the announcement of the results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Criticism of the army intensified after troops on Wednesday used live ammunition, water cannons and tear gas in the streets of Harare, killing six people in an attempt to suppress opposition protests over the delay in reporting the official election results.

A total of 27 MDC members and staff on Monday appeared in court on charges of inciting violence – charges that the accused denied.

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The July 30 presidential election was Zimbabwe’s first balloting in 37 years that did not feature the former leader, Robert Mugabe, who was ousted from power in November 2017.

–IANS

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