PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has blamed the MDC Alliance leadership for the violent protests that erupted in Harare Wednesday.
Police confirmed three people had died in the violence, which started in the central business district and spread to the Elections Command Centre at Rainbow Towers Hotel where protesters threw stones at the police who had mounted water cannons at the hotel gate.
“We hold the opposition MDC Alliance and its whole leadership responsible for this disturbance of national peace, which was meant to disrupt the electoral process,” said the president.
“Equally, we hold the party and its leadership responsible for any loss of life, injury or damage of property that arise from these acts of political violence which they have aided and abetted.”
Mnangagwa directed that the MDC Alliance supporters withdraw from the streets and allow for normalcy to prevail in the country.
“In asking them to take this necessary step, government is simply reminding them of their duties as responsible political players, and as citizens,” he said, adding that the MDC Alliance should concede defeat.
Alliance supporters staged protests in central Harare Wednesday afternoon, burning tyres and marching to the Rainbow Towers hotel where clashed with the police.
The supporters were disputing the election results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which they accused of manipulating figures in favour of Zanu PF, which won more than 70 percent of the seats.
This year’s election, the first without former Presi8dent Robert Mugabe since independence, has been largely peaceful, with all the political parties carrying out their campaigns without interference.
A record 23 presidential candidates contested the presidential election with more than 50 political parties fielding candidates in the parliamentary and local government elections.
It was also the first since 2002 in which international observers, including the European Union and foreign embassies have been allowed to observe.