Emmerson Mnangagwa. Picture: REUTERS
Emmerson Mnangagwa. Picture: REUTERS

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Thursday that he had been in touch with opposition leader Nelson Chamisa (of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance) to find a solution around the protests that claimed lives in Harare on Wednesday.

Through his official Twitter account Mnangagwa said calm should return to the streets through progressive dialogue.

"We have been in communication with Nelson Chamisa to discuss how to immediately diffuse the situation‚ and we must maintain this dialogue in order to protect the peace we hold dear‚" he tweeted.

But speaking at a media conference on Wednesday night‚ home affairs minister Obert Mpofu warned that the government was prepared to clamp down on unruly elements. "We have the necessary legal power and enough personnel to deal with unruly elements in our society and if people want to test our patience‚ then they will be very disappointed; very disappointed."

One of the people who was killed by bullets sprayed by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) was identified by the public on social media as a local shop owner who had just closed her store and was walking to her car.

The demonstrations on Wednesday marred what had otherwise been a peaceful election season. Mpofu blamed it on a "desperate opposition", saying, "Opposition parties have never enjoyed the freedom of meeting their supporters the way they have been doing‚ so they have perhaps misinterpreted our understanding to being weak."

Presidential election results are expected anytime from later on Thursday. The MDC Alliance claimed it had the "popular vote" and would win the presidential poll.

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