Post Election Violence in 2018

From Pindula

The post-election violence occurred in Harare on the 1st of August 2018. Rioting crowds alleged to be aligned to the MDC Alliance clashed with the Zimbabwe National Army and the Zimbabwe Republic Police. The security forces opened fire with guns, water cannons and tear gas, and protesters burned cars and threw rocks as helicopters hovered above Harare. The riots claimed three lives according to the media.

Alleged Causes

Zanu-PF parliamentary Victory

Violence swept through central Harare after an official announcement that the ruling ZANU-PF party had won most of the seats in Parliament, an outcome that enraged opposition supporters who believed they had been cheated of victory.

ZEC's alleged delays

It was alleged that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s decision to delay announcing the results of the presidential race at least three days after the vote angered opposition supporters who accused ZEC of colluding with ZANU-PF to rig the election in favour of Emmerson Mnangagwa. The Alliance has lost dismally in the national assembly elections, where ZANU-PF garnered a two-thirds majority, but blames this on massive rigging.

MDC Alliance

The MDC Alliance was blamed for instigating the violence that led to its alleged supporters clashing with the security forces. Emmerson Mnangagwa laid the blame for the violence squarely on the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance leadership which he said should bear the cost of the damage caused.[1]

It was alleged that Tendai Biti and youth leader Happymore Chidziva warned that there would be havoc if Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa was not declared the winner of the presidential elections. Further allegations were that their statements threatened future violence and triggered the Result riots according to the police.[2]


Chamisa Claiming victory

The results of the presidential elections had not yet been announced but Chamisa had been claiming victory even before the elections.His claims were alleged to have created a tense atmosphere which sparked the rioting.

Tendai Biti's statements

Tendai Biti said that We’re going to fight this after the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) announced a landslide victory for the ruling Zanu-PF.[3]

The fascists are trying to steal this election, but we won’t accept it,” said veteran opposition leader Biti, who is one of the co-leaders of the seven-party Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC-Alliance) coalition which contested the presidential and parliamentary poll. “Our data shows we have won by 61%; Nelson Chamisa has won 61% of the votes. If you win by this much in the presidential elections – for instance in Masvingo (province) where Chamisa won overwhelmingly but hardly won any parliamentary seats – something is wrong. People don’t vote for a presidential candidate of one party and not for the MPs of that party. So it’s called cheating

A few days before the election, Biti had vowed to make Zimbabwe “ungovernable” if the MDC-Alliance lost. After the ZEC announced the alliance’s overwhelming (official) defeat in the parliamentary poll Biti was asked what his party would do and he said :

The people are already making the country ungovernable. The people are already on the streets. They are marching spontaneously, without organisation. There are spontaneous riots. There is chaos in the town centre. Huge crowds are marching to ZEC, which pretends to be the electoral body. And the police are on the warpath. They are fighting the people “The fight is just beginning. It will get worse

Tendai Biti said there was a clear attempt by Zanu-PF to interfere "with the people's will. He warned the party not to plunge Zimbabwe into chaos


Emmerson Mnangagwa's response to the violence

Emmerson Mnangagwa appealed for peace and blamed the MDC Alliance for causing the riots that ended up with civilians losing their lives.H e urged the MDC Alliance to restrain its supporters.

Chamisa' Response

Chamisa issued a statement through his spokesperson and distanced himself as well as the Alliance from the rioting Mob, Dr Sibanda statements complemented Douglas Mwonzora's sentiments earlier that the MDC Alliance was not responsible for the rioting crowds.

European Union appeals for calm

The European Union has appealed for calm a day after deadly violence linked to Monday's elections that the EU says were marred by "shortcomings.[4]

Obert Mpofu's statement

Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu confirmed several violent incidents after the country's historic elections. Mpofu claimed MDC supporters were behind many of the attacks, in full view of party leader, Nelson Chamisa. He said that The government was to lodge a complaint with the Law Society of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's police commissioner said that the military would remain on standby, in case of violence flares up again.[5]

#ZimElections2018 - Three people have died



Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission statement

In a statement, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) condemned the use of live ammunition and excessive force on unarmed protesting citizens by the army following protests by MDC Alliance supporters.

ZHRC also condemned hooliganism and vandalism by the protesters. The Commission also urged the law enforcement agencies to manage protests in a manner that does not result in the loss of life.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC/Commission) joins the nation and other peace-loving Zimbabweans in condemning, in the strongest sense, the use of live ammunition and excessive force on unarmed protesting citizens by the army on 1 August 2018. Regrettably, we understand there was unnecessary loss of lives and property.

Whilst the Commission does not in any way support violence, hooliganism and vandalism by the protesters, constitutionally there are better ways of managing protests without infringing on the citizens’ right to life, which must be jealously guarded by all State institutions at all times. The ZHRC urges that the army be only deployed when necessary for the maintenance of law and order and in strict compliance with the relevant legal provisions and internationally accepted standards including restrictions on the use of live ammunition against protesters.

Further, the Commission calls upon political leaders and related stakeholders to exercise restraint and call upon their followers to respect peace and avoid violating the rights of others.

The Commission wishes to express its sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and equally wishes the injured a speedy recovery.

[6]

Commonwealth condemnation

The Commonwealth Observer Group has condemned the violence by the opposition supporters who were protesting against alleged rigging by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) on Wednesday. The group also denounced the excessive use of force by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces who used live bullets on the demonstrators. Three people are confirmed to have died after being gunned down. Delivering the Commonwealth Observer Group’s Preliminary Statement on Monday’s harmonised elections. Chairperson of the Commonwealth Observer Group and former president of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama said,

Let me start by expressing the Commonwealth Observer Group’s profound sadness at the outbreak of violence by supporters of the opposition and the excessive use of force by the security services in the last 24 hours. Tragically, this has resulted in a number of fatalities and injuries. We extend our sympathies to the families and loved ones of all those affected by these deeply troubling incidents. We categorically denounce the excessive use of force against unarmed civilians and wish to urge all parties to exercise restraint.….All parties must exercise patience and restraint while we await the announcement of full results. We urge the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to expedite the announcement of all election results, without further delay. Grievances must be pursued through due process, with the use of all available conflict resolution mechanisms.

[7]

SABC coverage of the riots

Mzwandile Mbeje reacts to post Zimbabwe election violence



Casualties

According to media reports the random shots fired by the army claimed 3 lives.

Gavin Charles

One of the three people who was gunned down after the army was deployed to handle opposition protesters, was identified as Gavin Charles.

According to his relative, William Chui, Gavin was not involved in the protests but was unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Writing on his Facebook page, Chui said,

Gavin Charles shot and killed Aug 1, 2018.

His offence?

Walking in Harare CBD while a demonstration was taking place and failing to get away fast enough before heartless soldiers could randomly shot and get him with a bullet.

‘For the Lord has said “vengeance is mine”

[8]

References

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