HARARE-- Political parties wishing to contest the outcomes of Zimbabwe's July 30 general election should do so using legal channels for recourse instead of resorting to violence, says United States Senator Jeff Flake (Republic-Arizona).

Flake, one of the chief architects of US sanctions re-imposed on Zimbabwe in February this year, says the violence unleashed Wednesday by supporters of the MDC-Alliance in the wake of their humbling defeat to the ruling party, Zanu PF, in last Monday's Parliamnetary elections cast a dark shadow on an otherwise peaceful election.

The violence resulted in the unfortunate deaths of six people and left several others injured and property damaged. The ruling party won 145 out of 210 seats in Parliament while its Presidential candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa won 50.8 per cent of the vote in the presidential election, held simultaneously .

Flake, who is also Chairperson of the Senate Foreign Relations Sub-Committee on African Affairs, said at te weekend that political parties should desist from violence. Challenges to the results must be pursued through legal channels, he said.

Flake, who was in Zimbabwe to observe the elections, said he was impressed by Zimbabweans on voting day having visited at least 12 polling stations in rural Zimbabwe.

I saw representatives of Zanu PF and MDC Alliance sitting together, chatting amicably and helping each other keep proper tallies. In everyone I encountered, I saw the hope for a brighter, more democratic and prosperous future for Zimbabwe.

He urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to make public its comprehensive polling data for independent analysis. In order to instil confidence in the election results, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must now make good on its commitment to release comprehensive polling data in a transparent manner that includes results from each polling station signed off by party agents who were present for the casting of ballots and the tabulation of results, he said.

Another top U.S. government official, Heather Nauert, who is the US State Department Spokesperson, said the July 30 elections had presented the country with an historic chance to move beyond the political and economic crises of the past.

Unfortunately, she said, Zimbabwe's effort to deliver an election day that was peaceful, and open to international observers, was subsequently marred by violence instigated by the MDC-Alliance.

We encourage all stakeholders and citizens to pursue any grievances peacefully and through established legal channels, and we encourage all political leaders to show magnanimity in victory and graciousness in

defeat, he said.

Nauert said the United States remained focused on working with Zimbabwe to realise further political and economic reforms.