Elections observers in Harare say they are locked inside their hotels as largely peaceful elections that took place on Monday turned violent from Wednesday afternoon.
An observer from Botswana, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso, has confirmed that indeed they have been advised to stay in their hotels.
“I am fine, but scared. It was always fine until today around 12pm after the press conference,” Tshireletso explained.
She further confirmed that observers have been advised to stay in their hotels and advised not to go out.
Yet another observer from Malawi, corroborated Tshireletso’s statement and added that, “I am in a hotel now and have been advised by security agents not to move outside.”
Reports from Harare suggest that already a person has been shot down by soldiers near a bus rank in central Harare as protests that were said to have been started by the main opposition party followers turned violent.
Earlier in the day, media reports suggested that a crowd of protesters from Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) gathered outside the Harare hotel where election results were to be announced while armed riot police with water cannon blocked the entrance.
Yet another group is said to have gathered at the gates of the electoral commission with a line of armed police blocking them.
European Union’s election observer mission was heard saying the Zimbabwe poll on Monday was largely peaceful, but the use of state resources and coercion and bias by traditional leaders, meant a level playing field was not truly achieved.
Presidential election results are yet to be announced.