Muchaneta Chimuka / Sibongile Maruta, Harare Bureau
MDC Alliance’s propensity for violence came to the fore yesterday after its supporters went on a rampage destroying property, torching vehicles, blocking roads and attacking pedestrians in Harare’s Central Business District.
Some pedestrians were robbed of their possessions. The rowdy supporters went into the streets around 10am and continued disturbing the peace into the afternoon.
Police tried to control them but failed due to their depleted manpower as a result of elections deployment. The army had to be called in to assist the police.
The MDC Alliance, which was drubbed by Zanu-PF in the parliamentary elections, claimed the elections were rigged.
Groups of MDC Alliance supporters armed with iron bars, bricks, planks and sticks marched into the CBD chanting their slogans, spreading hate language, provoking police and harassing pedestrians.
Others forcibly removed commuters from kombis instigating them to join the violent protest.
The demonstration came at a time parliamentary results released showed that Zanu-PF had won 144 parliamentary seats, MDC Alliance 61, Independent candidate Themba Mliswa (one) and NPF, one seat, out of the 207 that had been officially announced by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) yesterday afternoon.
Presidential election results are still to be announced by the ZEC as some of the 23 presidential candidates or their representatives are still to sign the V11 forms for final verification yet MDC Alliance already claimed their candidate Nelson Chamisa won and would not accept any other result.
This is despite the fact that their party agents at polling stations had signed V11 Forms and V23 Forms which are an important element of Zimbabwe’s electoral system.
A V11 form is an original document carrying results from the polling station and is signed by agents of all contesting parties.
After the signing of the V11 form, information is then recorded on the V23 forms that collate polling station results within a ward.
These forms show results of Presidential, National Assembly and council elections, and they are forwarded to the National Command Centre who announce the official results.
The forms carrying results are also posted outside polling stations.
Yet with such clear procedures, MDC Alliance still went on the rampage.
In the CBD, buildings like Herald House had their windows shattered by the protestors while Topics First Street building was saved by the timely arrival of the police.
Another building along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, opposite Radar Arts was also damaged by the protestors who wanted to loot.
Scared motorists along Sam Nujoma Street made quick u-turns and sped off as the violent protestors advanced and banged their cars.
Supermarkets such as Ok and Pick n Pay, some pharmacies, Bata, clothing boutiques, TV Sales and Home among others closed their main entrances later beefing up security.
Vendors were also forced to remove their wares off the streets fearing looting.
Amongst the demonstrators were a handful of elderly women.
One of the elderly women, the MDC Alliance supporters claimed was the “Mbuya Nehanda” of their party could be seen provoking and hurling insults at the police who just watched her.
Rowdy MDC Alliance youths who were wearing party regalia, could be seen smoking dagga while chanting slogans.
At lunch time, a kombi delivered food and alcohol to the protestors. After eating, they were back on the streets, stoning and harassing more people.
Others placed stones on a pavement outside Harvest House.
They said the stones were to attack anyone who stopped them from demonstrating.
Some supporters blocked the smooth flow of traffic along Nelson Mandela Avenue by doing press ups in the middle of the road.
The demonstrators were so daring to the extent of jumping onto bonnets of moving police vehicles to attract foreign media who were covering the goings-on.
A group of unruly MDC Alliance supporters comprising men and women also attacked a Zimpapers newspaper stand outside Herald House and tore newspapers that were displayed.
An MDC Alliance supporter, John Moyo, who took part in the protest vowed to be on the streets until their issues are resolved.
Another demonstrator, Rumbidzai Munatsi, said the protest – which they held before the announcement of presidential results by ZEC as per the Electoral Act- is meant to elevate Nelson Chamisa to president of Zimbabwe.
She said they were not interested in the official election results yet to be announced by ZEC.
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has been making inflammatory statements at his rallies calling his supporters to engage in anarchy in the event of a loss and yesterday’s violence cannot be divorced from his reckless utterances.