The peaceful atmosphere that prevailed on Election Day has been disturbed by the tensions that engulfed the nation yesterday after a deadly crackdown on MDC Alliance protesters in Harare.
The Zimbabwean National Army soldiers fired live rounds of ammunition on unarmed civilians during a protest in the capital over allegations of delays in announcing the Presidential election results and rigging by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Frustrated by the perceived delay, opposition party supporters took to the streets; destroying and looting property prompting the army to heavily descend on the civilians in a bid to disperse them. Three people were reportedly killed while several others were injured.
Despite several calls for peace leading to the subsequent signing of peace pledges by contesting political parties, the post-election period has been marred by violence. Political parties have failed to adhere to the peace pledge which seeks to collectively promote a climate of peace and tolerance in all electoral processes.
The main opposition and the state have both refused to take the blame for the skirmishes that claimed the lives of innocent civilians. The unfortunate incident comes at a time when the country is working towards building lasting peace and social cohesion through the establishment of a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.
Uncertainty continues to grip Bulawayo which is an opposition stronghold where the ruling party only managed to salvage one seat out of 13 National Assembly seats. The security sector is on high alert as armoured vehicles and heavy security detail roam the streets of Bulawayo. This has compounded fears of intimidation and violence that may follow if the electorate disputes the Presidential election.
Habakkuk Trust will continue to monitor the fragile post-election period and input on recommendations towards peace building and tolerance in communities affected by post-election violence.
Source: Habakkuk Trust