A supporter of Zimbabwean opposition MDC Alliance push a barrel in front of a fire in Harare on August 1, 2018, as protests erupted over alleged fraud in the country's election. Protests in Zimbabwe's historic elections turned bloody on August 1 as a man was shot dead during demonstrations over alleged vote fraud and the president appealed for calm. The man died after soldiers fired live ammunition during opposition protests in downtown Harare, AFP reporters saw./ AFP PHOTO / Luis TATO
Agence France-Presse

The U.S. has expressed regret over Zimbabwe’s general election and what it termed the disproportionate use of force by the security forces in responding to the violence.

The U.S. Department of State, in a statement by its Spokesperson, Ms Heather Nauert, also pointed out “challenges during the pre-election period’’.

The frontrunners in the election were President Emmerson Mnangagwa from the ruling ZANU-PF party and his opponent, Nelson Chamisa, head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance.

The U.S. said Zimbabwe’s July 30 elections presented the country with a historic chance to move beyond the political and economic crises of the past and toward profound democratic change, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.

“The Zimbabwean people turned out massively to cast their votes, underscoring their aspirations for a better future, despite challenges during the pre-election period.

“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.

“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,’’ Nauert stated.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, however, declared Mnangagwa winner of the election after some delays, which some observers said created opportunities for citizens to speculate about the potential to manipulate results.

The U.S. welcomed the commitment by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release comprehensive election results in a form that provides full transparency.

“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’’.

It encouraged all stakeholders and citizens to pursue any grievances peacefully and through established legal channels.

The U.S. also encouraged all political leaders to show magnanimity in victory and graciousness in defeat.

“The United States remains focused on working with Zimbabwe as its people and government strive toward still-needed comprehensive electoral, political, economic, and human rights reforms,’’ the statement read.

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