'Electoral playing field perfectly level... opposition enjoying democracy,' says Mnangagwa

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly said that the electoral "playing field is perfectly level", following the uninterrupted demonstration by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance in Harare on Tuesday.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Mnangagwa said that opposition parties were now enjoying democracy and were supposed to be happy that they were able to express themselves freely.

"They are enjoying democracy which exist in this country," Mnangagwa was quoted as saying.

"I think they are so happy that there is an environment where they can express themselves right, left and centre. But of course in relation to the forthcoming harmonised elections, already less than two week ago, I signed into law the reforms relating to the electoral act, so the playing field is perfectly level."

Thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets on Tuesday to call for electoral reforms to prevent fraud and voter intimidation ahead of presidential elections on July 30.

Brandishing placards, singing and dancing, noisy activists defied the cold and marched with the main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to the country's electoral commission in Harare, halting traffic and drawing onlookers.

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"We will not allow an election which is not free and fair," MDC leader Nelson Chamisa told supporters after handing over a petition to the commission.

"We are prepared to do anything necessary. We will keep pressuring them. We will do this every day until we get the reforms we want."

Zimbabwean police, previously known for suppressing such events under former president Robert Mugabe, kept watch on the demonstrators after banning the ruling Zanu-PF from holding a counter-march.

The opposition's demands included an end to alleged military interference in the electoral commission.

The commission has denied it, saying only 15% of its staff was made up of retired security agents.

Other demands included an end to alleged state media bias, an audit of the voters' roll and transparency in the printing of ballots.

Former ruling party members who were now part of another opposition party backed by Mugabe also addressed the crowd and pledged to support Chamisa's candidacy.

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