'We are going to have to go to war': Zimbabwe's election fallout

Robert Mugabe's old party wins Zimbabwe election without him

Opposition supporters clogged the streets of Zimbabwe's capital Wednesday as the country awaited the results of the first leadership election since the end of Robert Mugabe's strongman rule a year ago.

Mr Mnangagwa, whose ruling Zanu PF party yesterday claimed a large majority in disputed parliamentary elections, said he had been in contact with the leader of the opposition MDC Alliance in a bid to defuse tensions.

Mnangagwa's main contender, opposition leader Nelson Chamisa from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has already claimed he has won the election.

Chamisa declared an early victory on Tuesday long before the counting had been completed - including in the rural regions that tend to overwhelmingly support the ruling party.

Ballots are still being counted in the presidential election with results expected to be announced later this week.

The electoral commission this morning confirmed the ruling party had won 109 seats, a day after the opposition accused it of deliberately delaying results in Zanu PF's favour.

As gunfire reverberated through downtown Harare, Mnangagwa called for calm and urged patience while results were collated.

Zimbabwean soldiers appeared on streets of Harare on Wednesday, jumping out of several armoured vehicles to disperse opposition supporters after they clashed with police, footage broadcast by eNCA television showed.

A protester gestures toward police water cannons outside of the gates of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Authorities invoked Zimbabwe's Public Order and Security Act, which allows police to ban public meetings or gatherings.

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The ZEC "seeks to release results to buy time and reverse the people's presidential election victory", Chamisa said on his Twitter account.

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

The chairwoman of the ZEC has said the announcement of the presidential election result depends on how fast parties can verify results posted outside of polling stations.

More than five million people were registered to vote, and there was a high turnout of 70%.

European Union chief observer Elmar Brok said there were "efforts to undermine the free expression of the will of the electors through inducements, soft intimidation, pressure and coercion... to try to ensure a vote in favor of the ruling party".

"The results are biased, trying to give the impression that ZANU has won", said Lawrence Maguranyi, 21, an MDC supporter and university student.

The presidential results are yet to be announced.

Zimbabweans desperately hope the peaceful vote, which took place Monday, will lift them out of economic and political stagnation after decades of Mugabe's rule, but the country is haunted by a history of electoral violence and manipulation that means trust is scarce.

The opposition has spoken of vote-rigging, saying results were not posted outside a fifth of the country's almost 11,000 polling stations.

ZEC said the final results of the presidential race may not be known until Saturday. "We have won this one together".

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