In Harare, the contrast could not be starker with November, when hundreds of thousands filled the streets, hugging soldiers and celebrating their role in ousting 94-year-old Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabwe had known since independence in 1980.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared victory in the disputed poll, the country's first since the downfall of Robert Mugabe previous year, and accused the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of inciting the unrest.
"We are exhausted of these people".
At Harare's Parirenyatwa Hospital, a family wept in an emergency room where a man who had been fatally shot lay on a stretcher.
In February 2018 veteran opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai dies of cancer; his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) picks former youth activist Nelson Chamisa to lead it into the election set for July 30.
Police confirmed the death toll of three, and Mnangagwa issued a statement blaming the opposition for the unrest and fatalities.
China, Zimbabwe's main global ally, said it hoped all sides would put the country's interests first following a "generally peaceful and orderly" election.
Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu said the government would not tolerate such protests.
'The opposition. are testing our resolve and I think they are making a big mistake, ' he said.
A credible vote is crucial to the lifting of global sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe so that its collapsed economy can recover.
Mnangagwa previously said the opposition was to blame for the violence, though some worldwide observers criticized the military for opening fire on unarmed civilians.
European Union observers had earlier declared they found an "un-level playing field and lack of trust" in the election process. The delay in results has raised suspicions of electoral fraud and sent angry protesters to the streets where they were confronted by the military.
The situation in the country now is rather disappointing, according to many observers.
But anger flared on Wednesday over alleged vote-rigging, prompting troops to use live rounds on protesters.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged Zimbabwe's politicians to exercise restraint, while United Kingdom foreign office minister Harriett Baldwin said she was "deeply concerned" by the violence.
The observers added that the outcome would reflect the will of the people and "represents a turning point for Zimbabwe".
"The presidential election results will start to be announced around 10pm", ZEC commissioner Qhubani Moyo said.
Addressing journalists who challenged the MDC Alliance for sending out its supporters - some of whom threw stones and burned barricades and Zanu-PF regalia - to protest and declare victory for Chamisa before ZEC had released the presidential results, Chamisa's Spokesperson, Dr. Nkululeko Sibanda, said Zanu-PF likely infiltrated the protesters to create chaos.
Chamisa ratcheted up pressure, saying he had won the presidential vote and that the result was being faked. "No amount of results manipulation will alter your will", he tweeted before the army was deployed.
But it said partial presidential results could be announced later Wednesday.
"We expect that these results will become a reflection of what we are expecting in the presidential elections".
His attempts to position Grace as his successor are widely thought to have driven the military to intervene and install their favoured candidate, Mnangagwa, in power. "The unmeasured military response bears witness to a security apparatus little reformed since the Mugabe era".