Harare : Anger tamed as economic reality sets in

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The second day of an opposition-led general strike in Zimbabwe, to press for the release of delayed results of a presidential vote, was calmer and less violent Wednesday, eyewitnesses said.

The opposition, angered by delays by the authorities in releasing the results of a 29 March presidential vote, had called for an indefinite strike starting Tuesday to force the publication of the poll outcome.

The first day of the strike was marked by several incidents of violence in the capital Harare, where police said several buses and cars were burnt and stoned.

Militant opposition youths barricaded roads in several suburbs and barred buses and cars from carrying people to work. However, later in the day most offices, shops and banks opened.

“A Nyamweda bus was burnt early in the morning (Tuesday) at Warren Park roundabout. One of the attackers brought a piece of a burning tyre and torched the bus,” police said in a statement.

“In St Mary’s, Mbare, Kuwadzana and Westgate (suburbs in Harare), reports of random illegal roadblocks were reported,” it added.

Police said several cars, including state-owned buses, were stoned by youths suspected to be opposition supporters.

They said more than 30 people, mostly youths, were arrested countrywide in violence related to the strike.

On Wednesday, eyewitnesses said youths again barricaded roads in some suburbs of Harare, resulting in skirmishes with police.

But in the city centre, the strike appeared to have fizzled out, with banks, shops and offices opening at the normal time in the morning.

The situation was calm, but police patrolled the streets of the capital to prevent any outbreak of violence.

The opposition, which claims it won the election, said it suspected the authorities were delaying declaring the outcome of the election in order to rig.

The election body has said it is still counting and verifying the ballot.

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