Zimbabwean soldiers patrolled the streets of Harare on 2nd August to ensure calm following bloody protests that saw at least three shot dead on 1st August.
The clashes between military forces and opposition protesters killed three people and left a number of the protesting civilians nursing wounds that included gunshots. Gunshots ran the air on 1st August as armored vehicles and a military helicopter circulated the capital city.
Demonstrators accused the ruling party of trying to rig out the Monday’s presidential election.
Deployment of soldiers who beat up and shot unarmed protesters taints President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s efforts to change Zimbabwe’s undemocratic status after decades of oppression under retired President Robert Mugabe, who was ousted following a coup in November 2017.
The protests began after Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition leader Chamisa claimed to have won the popular vote which led to his supporters celebrating on the streets of Harare.
Opposition supporters who had been burning tires in the streets went ahead to attack the riot police near the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) headquarters. The officers then responded with tear gas and water-cannon which the protesters engaged them by throwing stones leading to police firing.
European Union (EU) observers had earlier questioned the conduct of the presidential and parliamentary poll before the violence erupted. The observers had expressed concern regarding delays in releasing of the results of the presidential contest.
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called onto the country’s political leaders and people to exercise restraint and reject violence.
A police spokeswoman, Charity Charamba, reported that the troops had been deployed at the request of police, who were not able to cope with the violence and that the military officers would remain under police command.
The Presidential contest is a two-horse race between MDC‘s Chamisa and ZANU-PF’s Mnangagwa.
The winner of the presidential election will require to be approved by the International Community to gain access to International donour finance that Zimbabwe needs to stabilize its economy that was shattered during Mugabe’s tenure.