Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Thursday he had been talking to opposition leader Nelson Chamisa to try to defuse tension over this week’s presidential election after violent clashes on the streets of Harare.
Writing on Twitter, Mnangagwa also called for an independent investigation into the violence, in which three people were killed after soldiers were deployed to the streets of the capital.
Zimbabwean soldiers walked the streets of the capital Harare on Thursday as subdued calm returned a day after clashes between security forces and opposition protesters killed three people.
Gunfire crackled on Wednesday as troops, backed by armoured vehicles and a military helicopter, cleared the streets of demonstrators who accused the ruling party of trying to rig Monday’s presidential election.
Many shops were closed on a quiet Thursday morning in Harare, where scattered debris, charred remains from fires and a few dozen soldiers acted as a reminder of the violence that erupted a day before.
“Yesterday was a very sad day for Zimbabwe,” said minibus taxi driver Gift, glancing over his shoulder as a soldier smoking a cigarette looked on.
“We hope things remain quiet and we can all just forget about this election. We don’t know if it was fair. The government will do what they want.”
The deployment of soldiers and their beating of unarmed protesters set back President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s efforts to shed Zimbabwe’s pariah status after decades of repression under Robert Mugabe, who was ousted in a coup in November. Reuters