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Zimbabwe's president said Thursday that his government has been in touch with the main opposition leader in an attempt to ease tensions after election-related violence in the country's capital.

That omission gave room for the electoral commission, which ZESN and the opposition have accused of bias, to manipulate the results in favour of Mnangagwa and the ZANU-PF party, Biti said.

Tongai Mnangagwa of Zanu PF was declared victor in Harare South and was closely ahead of former Zanu PF Harare Political Commissar who stood as an MDC Alliance candidate, Shadreck Mashayamombe.

A joint statement by global election observers including the United States, the European Union, the African Union, and the United Kingdom expressed "grave concern" over the violence and urged the electoral commission to release the results "expeditiously".

What will happen in the presidential vote? His supporters gathered at their party's headquarters in the capital during the afternoon to celebrate victory despite the lack of official results. At least three people are killed.

Mnangagwa, whose ruling ZANU-PF party has already secured a parliamentary majority, called for unity and peaceful settlement of differences.

"Zimbabwean authorities had a duty to facilitate this in a peaceful manner, without deploying the army to the streets", he said.

Zimbabwe soldiers walk past a broken shop window in Harare on August 2 after election-related protests turned violent and resulted in three deaths.

Anti-riot police stand guard at gate of Rainbow Towers where election results were announced.

The electoral roll has always been a contentious feature of Zimbabwean elections, allegedly the rotten core of systematic rigging under Mugabe.

Wednesday's violence, which followed a relatively orderly election, dashes Mnangagwa's hopes of repairing the image of a country that had become synonymous with corruption and economic collapse under Mugabe.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said it was disturbed by the events that unfolded in Harare.

"If they've got the smoking gun, then they must hold the gun and quickly put forward concrete evidence to support their claims that the election has been rigged", Tendi said.

The ruling party forced Mugabe to resign in November, when the military briefly seized control of the country, and replaced him with Mnangagwa, his former deputy and spy chief.

"We categorically denounce the excessive use of force against unarmed civilians", former Ghanaian president John Mahama said on behalf of the Commonwealth.

Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu said those who violated election rules by prematurely declaring victory risked incurring the "wrath of the law".

The website of the election commission, which is expected to start announcing presidential election results on Thursday, was offline after being taken out by unidentified hackers overnight.

It was the first time the military was back in the streets since Mugabe's ouster - at that time, they were welcomed by residents as liberators.

The army crackdown has broken the euphoria that followed its removal of Mugabe, and fueled suspicions that the generals who launched the coup remain Zimbabwe's de facto rulers.

Police have said they requested the military's help because they were "unable to cope".


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