Years of frustration with Zimbabwe's political institutions turned into a sad day as the army was deployed to quell the protesters who were expressing their dissatisfaction with the results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
ZANU-PF, the incumbent party, won two-thirds of the parliamentary seats, obtaining a two-thirds majority in Parliament. This has not gone down well with the opposition supporters who are already claiming foul play as they allege the results were cooked. Earlier on, Nelson Chamisa, the opposition leader and contender to Emmerson Mnangagwa had tweeted that he had won the elections. Tendai Biti, a senior opposition politician, had said in a press conference that Nelson Chamisa had won and that Constantino Chiwenga, the retired army general who led the November 2017 coup wants to assassinate Chamisa.
Opposition protesters gathered in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, to express their disapproval with the way the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has handled the elections alleging that the results are rigged. The delay by the commission to announce the presidential results has fueled the anger of many Zimbabweans who are already suspecting the results are being tampered with. The commission's chairperson attributed the delay to the verification process of the results which each presidential candidate has to go through. The election had 23 presidential candidates.
After the protests had turned violent, the army was deployed, armed with live ammunition on unarmed civilians. As the live ammunition was sprayed, there was chaotic pandemonium, and lives were lost. It is being reported that 3 people died from live ammunition by the army, while other reports are saying 4. The disproportionate brutality unleashed on innocent citizens tired of suffering was uncalled for - and exposes the true colors of ZANU-PF. It is still unclear who called for the deployment of the army. Foreign journalists were not permitted by the army to take footage of what was happening.
It is a sad day, and all hopes for a better Zimbabwe have been dashed. Police only have the prerogative to handle civilian unrest, not the military. It is unconstitutional, callous, heartless and utterly brutal. Emmerson Mnangagwa blamed the opposition for inciting protesters. Tendai Biti and opposition youth leader, Happymore Chidziva, have been invited to the police's Criminal Investigation Department to "assist with investigations". But it is not the opposition leaders who incited the people - the situation on the ground has.
In any way, the punishment for protesting is NOT violence. It is now clear that the ZANU-PF government led by Emmerson Mnangagwa has been on a charade to portray the "fake peace" in Zimbabwe. There is nothing new in Zimbabwe. There is no new dispensation. The deployment of troops is a clear indication that Zimbabwe is a military state. And the death of innocent lives cannot be justified.
The whole credibility of the elections have been jeopardized. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission delaying with presidential results is raising the ire of the people. Zimbabwe only yearns for freedom and change.