#ZimbabweDecides: A timeline of the Harare pandemonium

02 August 2018 - 12:06 By Jessica Levitt
A supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC) of Nelson Chamisa wears a cone as they block a street in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 1, 2018.
A supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC) of Nelson Chamisa wears a cone as they block a street in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 1, 2018.
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibek

The first ballot in 37 years in Zimbabwe was supposed to be marked by pictures of residents casting their votes peacefully, political leaders joining hands at the historic event and hope for a renewed start. Instead, three people died as protestors took to the streets of Harare to oppose the early results announcement. The military had to intervene and pictures of Harare on fire have dominated the newswires.

Here's how peace turned to violence in just three days.

July 30

Polling stations opened across Zimbabwe at 7am and were scheduled to close at 7pm. It was the first ballot since the ousting of Robert Mugabe. There were no reports of violence.

People line up to cast their ballots to vote in the country's general elections in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe July 30, 2018.
People line up to cast their ballots to vote in the country's general elections in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe July 30, 2018.
Image: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

However, MDC leader Nelson Chamisa hints at trouble and says victory belongs to his party.

Zanu-PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa also issued a warning on his Twitter page, reminding Zimbabweans that only the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was mandated to release results.

July 31

Normal life continued in Zimbabwe as voting for the historical election began taking place. Supporters of the MDC celebrated outside of the party's headquarters in Harare after the polls closed without a hitch.

Supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC) of Nelson Chamisa, sing and dance in the street outside the party's headquarters following general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 31, 2018.
Supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC) of Nelson Chamisa, sing and dance in the street outside the party's headquarters following general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 31, 2018.
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Officials dismantled temporary election stations and life went on for locals.

Electoral workers prepare to dismantle a temporary polling station after the general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 31, 2018.
Electoral workers prepare to dismantle a temporary polling station after the general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 31, 2018.
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
A woman carries a television set on her head and a baby on her back at Mbare township outside the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, July 31, 2018.
A woman carries a television set on her head and a baby on her back at Mbare township outside the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, July 31, 2018.
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Mnangagwa applauded the high voter turn out.

August 1

In Harare MDC supporters are out early in the morning. They gathered outside the parties headquarters to wait for the official results.

Supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change opposition party of Nelson Chamisa demonstrate outside the party's headquarters as they await results of general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 1, 2018.
Supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change opposition party of Nelson Chamisa demonstrate outside the party's headquarters as they await results of general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 1, 2018.
Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Chamisa puts out a tweet saying the MDC has won the popular vote.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announces that early results show the Zanu-PF has a firm lead. MDC supporters start gathering outside the results centre and police are deployed.

Chamisa thanks Zimbabweans for the support.

By mid-afternoon chaos has erupted and military police are deployed as Harare burns.

MDC Alliance Presidential Spokesperson Dr Nkululeko Sibanda called the situation in Harare "dark times."

Mnangagwa calls for calm.

Zimbabwean police confirm an investigation into the violence will take place.

August 2

There's calm on the streets of Harare... for the moment. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said on Wednesday that the presidential results are likely to be announced on Thursday (today). 

Mnangagwa extends the olive branch to Chamisa.

And now the world waits as Zimbabwe decides...

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