US: Civilian killings by army dent peaceful Zimbabwe poll

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By Staff Reporter

THE United States of America says the use of live ammunition by Zimbabwe`s armed forces leading to the death of six civilians in Harare last Wednesday has dented what was set to become the country’s most peaceful election since independence.

In a statement, the Donald Trump led government said Zimbabwe has squandered a golden opportunity to see through a peaceful election which was key to strengthening the troubled country’s fragile democratic system.

“Unfortunately, Zimbabwe’s success in delivering an election day that was peaceful, and open to international observers, was subsequently marred by violence and a disproportionate use of deadly force against protestors by the security forces,” US Department of State spokesperson, Heather Nauert noted.

“We extend our condolences to the families and friends of those killed and injured and appeal to the leaders of all parties to urge their supporters to act peacefully.”

The civilian deaths were as a result of a high handed response by the army which was deployed in central Harare Wednesday afternoon ostensibly to quell wild protests over alleged poll fraud by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on behalf of Zanu PF.

Scores were also left injured and sought medical attention at local hospitals

The acts have received worldwide condemnation, with president-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa, Friday promising a full probe into the killings.

Mnangagwa emerged victorious with 50.8 percent of the vote while Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance garnered 44.3 percent, a figure the latter has disputed while claiming vote rigging by his rival.

Chamisa is adamant official figures announced as the final vote tally in the disputed presidential poll were tampered with by ZEC.

The American government also urged ZEC to release the comprehensive election results for scrutiny.

“The United States welcomes the commitment by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release comprehensive election results in a form that provides full transparency,” said Nauert.

“The United States will continue to review the data collected by its own observation teams, by international observation missions, and by local observers to make a complete assessment of the overall election.”

Nuaert added: “We encourage all stakeholders and citizens to pursue any grievances peacefully and through established legal channels, and we encourage all political leaders to show magnanimity in victory and graciousness in defeat”.

The American government said it “remains focused on working with Zimbabwe as its people and government strive toward still-needed comprehensive electoral, political, economic, and human rights reforms”.

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