Tense atmosphere ensues in Harare CBD

HARARE’S Central Business District (CBD) remained quiet but tense yesterday as the military and police maintained a heavy presence following Wednesday’s violent clashes, which left at least six civilians dead.

BY TINOTENDA MUNYUKWI

A soldier fires live rounds at protesters in Harare on Wednesday

Most residents have been terrified to go about their normal business following the bloody military crackdown against mostly MDC Alliance protesters who were demanding that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) release results of the presidential election.

A tour of the CBD by NewsDay Weekender yesterday revealed that most vending stalls were deserted and many shops closed.

The only people who went about their normal day-to-day business were Illegal money dealers, who could be seen at their usual spots.

“We know the soldiers are here and we are still terrified with what we saw on Wednesday, but then what can we do when we want to survive,” one of the dealers said.

On virtually every corner where there was a little gathering of people, the discussion was centred around the presidential race in which MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa by a close margin according to Zec.

The sentiments were almost the same, with most people believing that there was election rigging and Chamisa had won the popular vote ahead of Mnangagwa.

“Well, we are just accepting and moving on, we know he won but then there is not much we can do now with this government,” said a woman who identified herself as Nomsa.

Banks were open, but the usual long and meandering queues which have characterised them of late due to the ongoing cash crisis were not there, perhaps due to the fact that most were not disbursing any cash.

Riot police was roaming the streets in trucks and it maintained a huge presence at Morgan Tsvangirai House, the MDC Alliance headquarters

Meanwhile, despite the tense environment, a few Zanu PF supporters gathered at their offices in Mbare in a low key celebration of Mnangagwa’s victory. The supporters had to constantly encourage each other to chant lively slogans in front of observing journalists.

They attributed the lukewarm celebration to a directive from the party’s high authorities who have halted all celebrations until their leader Mnangagwa has spoken and given the greenlight.

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