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Zimbabwe boils! All you want to know about the elections

Zimbabwe remains on a knife edge on Thursday morning after post-election violence which saw at least three people dead, scores injured and police invoking the Public Order Security Act

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Zimbabwe remains on a knife edge on Thursday morning after post-election violence which saw at least three people dead, scores injured and police invoking the Public Order Security Act.

The act, which forbids public gatherings, was enforced after clashes broke out in Harare between soldiers and civilians who had been protesting the ruling Zanu-PF’s majority win in parliament.

Live ammunition was used to disperse the crowds, leading to pandemonium in the capital.

Army patrols continued into the night on the streets of Harare.

Wednesday’s violence, which also saw the destruction of property and bloodshed, has been blamed on supporters of opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

This is because on Tuesday, one of the MDC Alliance leaders, Tendai Biti, declared at a press conference that Chamisa had won the election, prompting celebrations outside the party’s headquarters.

But things took a different turn on Wednesday when the country’s electoral commission announced that Zanu-PF had in fact secured a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

The news did not go down well with opposition supporters who asserted that results were rigged in favour of the ruling party.

There was violent confrontation between them and the army.
The confrontation quickly escalated and soldiers carrying rifles could be seen assaulting civilians.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressed the nation last night, blaming the violence on Chamisa.

Police say they are viewing video footage to determine who incited the violence.

POLICE DEFEND ARMY DEPLOYMENT

Zimbabwean police have defended their decision to call for army back up to deal with Wednesday’s violence in Harare, saying they did not have enough officers.

The US Embassy in Harare has urged the military to exercise restraint while diffusing tensions, saying it is deeply concerned about how it dealt with civilians.

The police’s Charity Charamba says the police chief requested the backup.
“It’s not a secret that our police officers are currently deployed throughout the entire country and the level of lawlessness in Harare has actually led to this decision.”

But it’s been argued that this decision led to the chaos and the subsequent deaths of at least three people.

Meanwhile, while the opposition MDC Alliance says it is not taking responsibility for the violence while in his address to the nation on Wednesday night, President Emmerson Mnangangwa called on political parties to accept that in any electoral process there are winners and losers.

Blood could be seen on the streets of Zimbabwe after police used live ammunition on civilians and protesters who accused the electoral commission of rigging results. Members of the media have also been assaulted and some had their equipment broken.

A man, who was bleeding from the mouth after being hit, said: “I was beaten by the soldiers, okay. I was hit during the demonstration.”

Protesters here have called for intervention from Southern African Development Community and the African Union, calling this a war between citizens and the Zanu-PF led government.

BRUTAL FORCE

Gunfire crackled in the streets while troops, backed by armoured vehicles and a military helicopter and some with their faces masked, cleared the streets.
One person was shot dead near a bus rank, witnesses at the scene told a Reuters photographer.

The deployment of soldiers and their beating of unarmed protesters is a setback to Mnangagwa’s efforts to shed Zimbabwe’s pariah status after decades of repression under Robert Mugabe, who was ousted in a coup in November.

Read Also: Mugabe won’t vote for the party he helped form. Why it may not count

Even before the violence, European Union observers questioned the conduct of the presidential and parliamentary poll, the first since Mugabe’s forced resignation after nearly 40 years in charge of the Southern African nation.

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the army had been called in to ensure “peace and tranquility”, although the legal basis for the move looks dubious, especially so soon after the military’s unconstitutional move against 94-year-old Mugabe.

Without the stamp of approval of the international community, Zimbabwe’s next leader will struggle to unlock the billions of dollars of international donor finance needed to get the shattered economy back on its feet.

The EU observers expressed concern about delays in releasing the results of the presidential contest, a two-horse race between Chamisa and Mnangagwa, head of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

As gunfire echoed through downtown Harare, Mnangagwa called for calm and urge patience while results were collated.

Many protesters accused the army of unprovoked brutality.
“We had no weapons. Why are the army here beating us? shooting us? This is not an election it is a disgrace on our country,” one young man, Colbert Mugwenhi, said.

A Reuters witness saw soldiers with sticks beat two people and counted at least five trucks full of soldiers.

“We are tired of them stealing our votes. This time we will not allow it, we will fight,” said one protester who wore a red MDC beret in central Harare.

“ONE-SIDED”

The electoral commission had said it would start announcing results for the presidential race from 10.30 GMT but that was then pushed back at least 24 hours.

With three seats yet to be declared in the parliamentary contest, Zanu-PF had 144 seats compared to 61 for the MDC, meaning the ruling party achieved the two-thirds majority that permits it to change the constitution at will.

Chamisa said the early release of the parliamentary results was a deliberate ploy to prepare Zimbabweans for a victory by Mnangagwa, a former national security chief nicknamed ‘The Crocodile’ and commonly referred to by the initials ED.

“The strategy is meant to prepare Zimbabwe mentally to accept fake presidential results. We’ve more votes than ED. We won the popular vote (and) will defend it,” Chamisa said on Twitter.

Before the violence, EU Chief Observer Elmar Brok said he did not yet know if the shortcomings would have a material effect on the outcome of the vote, but criticised the electoral commission for being at times “one-sided”.

The EU’s assessment is critical in determining whether Zimbabwe can repair its image and attract the foreign investors needed for an economic revival.
The EU did not understand why the release of the presidential result was taking so long, Brok said.

“The longer it lasts that the results of the presidential election is not known, the more lack of credibility it provides,” he said.

Zimbabwe was once one of Africa’s most promising economies but became descended into corruption, mismanagement and diplomatic isolation in the latter stages of Mugabe’s administration.

Its population of 13 million is struggling amid shortages of foreign currency, unemployment above 80% and lack of foreign investment.

Politics

Nigeria: Senate President wants police rid of bad officers 

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Nigeria’s Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, has asked the police to get rid of bad officers. He also promised that the National Assembly would work with and back the police to make Nigeria safer.

Akpabio said this at the first Nigeria Police Awards and Commendations Ceremony, which took place in Abuja on Monday night. The Senate President commended the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, and the rest of the Nigeria Police leadership for putting together the event. He also told them to use it to celebrate the force’s accomplishments and reaffirm their promise to work together to make Nigeria safer.

He stated,  “I commend the Police for this maiden effort in organising this awards ceremony. It is a testament to IGP Egbetokun’s commitment to giving honour to whom it is due.

“By recognising the gallant, selfless and patriotic contributions of individual officers, we not only motivate them for higher performance but also reinforce the new policing agenda of the Force.

“This agenda focuses on internal ethical regeneration, restoration of professional standards and the enhancement of the anti-corruption drive.

“However, let us not ignore the challenges faced by the police in Nigeria. The ever-evolving landscape of crime and the increasing sophistication of criminal gangs pose significant obstacles. “

“Moreso, as we honour the good officers, let us weed out the bad ones because a chain is as strong as its weakest link. We must address these issues and work together to find solutions, he emphasised.

In front of Vice President Kashim Shettima and other important people, Akpabio said, “As the leader of the National Assembly, I pledge our full cooperation and support for better cops in Nigeria.”

“We recognise the importance of a well-equipped and motivated police force in ensuring the security and well-being of our citizens.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to provide the necessary legislative framework and resources to enable the police to carry out their duties effectively.”

Statista data shows that most Nigerians did not trust the cops at all in 2020. In cities, where six out of ten people who answered the survey said they didn’t believe the police, this lack of trust was higher. Also, 19% of the people interviewed in Nigeria’s cities and 26.8% of those interviewed in the country’s rural areas said they merely trusted the police.

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Politics

Chad: Interim President Deby begins campaign ahead of election

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With a promise to improve security and the economy, Mahamat Idriss Deby, Chad’s temporary president, started his campaign for president on Monday.

 

The election is set for next month and will end three years of military rule. Concerns of a democracy backslide have been raised about Deby’s government and others that have taken power in West and Central Africa since 2020.

 

Chad is one of the countries in Central and West Africa that is run by the military. There is still a push from both inside and outside of Africa for the country to switch to a democratic government.

 

Mahamat’s father had been in charge for a long time and was killed in rebel fighting in 2021. At first, Deby promised that polls would happen in 18 months. Later, however, his government passed measures that let him run for president and pushed the election date to 2024.

 

 

Some countries in the region and around the world have been pressuring Chad to quickly hand power back to people, but the country has been the first to hold elections.

 

 

“Today we are at the final turn on the road to constitutional return,” Deby told a large crowd gathered in scorching weather at the high-security event in Chad’s capital N’Djamena.

 

 

“You know me, I am a soldier and I hold my promises,” he said, barely visible behind a barrier of bodyguards crowding the podium.

“We will strengthen internal security to guarantee peace and stability in our country,” he said.

 

 

 

Deby made it official that he was going to run at the beginning of March. The news came a few days after Yaya Dillo, an opposition politician, was killed in a gunfight with security forces. This caused worries about the safety of the upcoming election.

 

Since then, forensic experts have said that Dillo was most likely shot from close range. Among the nine other candidates for president is Succes Masra, who was recently named Prime Minister of Chad and is a strong opponent of the junta.

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