HARARE-- Harare's Central Business District (CBD) is slowly returning to normalcy after Wednesday's violent clashes between opposition party supporters and security personnel which resulted in the death of six people and damage to property, leading shop owners to shutter up.

The Zimbabwe government blamed the opposition MDC Alliance leadership for the mayhem and urged them to withdraw their supporters from the streets.

On Thursday the CBD was deserted as people stayed at home, fearing more protests after the MDC Alliance was defeated in the National Assembly elections.

A random survey found that almost 70 per cent of shops in the capital had not re-opened as some retailers feared a fresh eruption of the riots after the announcement of the Presidential poll results in which President Mnangagwa

was re-elected with 50.8 per cent of the votes against 44.3 per cent for his main rival, Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance.

Chamisa had declared before polling day on Monday that he would not accept any other result besides victory, utterances which primed his supporters for violence.

Shattered glass on the pavements from broken shops windows still serve as a reminder of the protests despite business in the city picking up traction.

On Friday, two days after the riots, some businesses hesitantly opened their doors late in the morning with most doing so after 10 am and closing soon after


One Harare resident said the late opening of shops was an indication that people feared a return of the riots. I am not going to speak much but people are hesitant and are exercising caution as they fear the loss of their goods, he said.

The smooth flow of traffic in the morning along major roads leading into the city was another indication of fear among residents to go into the CBD as there is usually traffic congestion in the morning.

Meanwhile, police could be seen patrolling in their vehicles in large numbers as a sign to would-be protesters that they are prepared to deal with any incidents of violence.

Police trucks are also still parked across the MDC-T party headquarters, which was the starting point of the protests on Wednesday.