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Zimbabwe govt warns opposition; US, UK bemoan post-poll violence

Zimbabwe govt warns opposition; US, UK bemoan post-poll violence

The United States and Britain have expressed concern over post-election violence in Zimbabwe. They urged leaders to call for calm and restraint.

The US position was issued in a press statement by the Embassy in Harare. It read as follows: “The United States Embassy in Harare is deeply concerned by events unfolding in Harare.

“We urge leaders of all parties to call for calm from members of their respective parties. We further urge the Defense Forces of Zimbabwe to use restraint in dispersing protesters.

“Zimbabwe has an historic opportunity to move towards a bright future for all its citizens. Violence cannot be part of that process,” it concluded.

On the part of the UK, Minister for Africa and Member of Parliament for West Worcestershire, Harriet Baldwin wrote on twitter: “Deeply concerned by today’s violence in Harare. Call on Zimbabwe’s political leaders to take responsibility for ensuring calm & restraint at this critical moment.”

She added that the UK was monitoring the situation closely and further advised British nationals in Harare to check the latest travel advisory issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

A summary of the latest advisory read: “As of 1 August, a demonstration is moving through the Harare Central Business District, with reports of shots fired; this is an ongoing, unpredictable situation and you’re advised to avoid the area until the crowd has dispersed; during the post-election period, political gatherings and demonstrations may occur elsewhere; these can be can be unpredictable, and may turn violent; you’re advised to avoid any political gatherings or demonstrations.”

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in a press briefing said it was within the legal limits of time (five days) allowed to release presidential results. It has so far released all but three of the 210 National Assembly results.

The government has meanwhile squarely blamed deadly violence in the capital on leaders of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance. Three people died from confrontation between the army and MDC Alliance supporters demanding their candidate be declared winner.

The ruling party has also released all its V11 forms – critical election results documents – to prove that it had not attempted to rig the polls. The opposition had earlier alleged that its V11 forms shows a win for Nelson Chamisa.