Elections are underway in various polling stations across Zimbabwe. The elections mark the second democratic processes the country is experiencing since the overthrow of Robert Mugabe in 2017.
Following the end of the first five year term of President Emerson Mnangagwa, he is thereby seeking for a second term of office, as he contests against other candidates.
Also, the 350 seater parliament of the country would be determined by the elections, along with 2,000 local council positions.
Per regulations of the elections, results for parliamentary elections will begin to come in by Thursday morning after the closure of polls, and vote counting would continue to determine winners in various constituencies and local council positions.
The presidential results however, would come in later but well ahead of the five-day deadline.
According to the constitutional standings of Zimbabwe’s elections, a contender must garner more than 50% of valid votes cast to emerge victorious in the elections. If not, the two top runners of the first round would contest in a simple majority runoff, slated for October 2.
However, casting back to the 2018 general election, the ZANU-PF party emerged victorious by obtaining 50.8% of valid vote cast, while the opposition Ctizen’s Coalition for Change party pulled 44.3% of vote cast.
In a rally some days ago, the leader of the opposition, Nelson Chamisa admonished the Zimbabwe electoral commission not to allow what happened in the last election repeat itself.
“I have told the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that what happened in 2018 cannot be repeated. We will not accept a rigged vote.”Nelson Chamisa, Leader of the Opposition Party.
Chamisa declared that the “Zimbabwean crisis is essentially a crisis of governance” while introducing his party’s manifesto.
Chamisa’s campaign have resonated well with the millions of ordinary Zimbabweans, who have suffered from the long-term economic mismanagement, cronyism, and corruption of the Mnangagwa’s administration.
“We are bringing about the new Zimbabwe a country of hope and opportunity, a country that engages with the world and strives toward prosperity.”Nelson Chamisa, Leader of the Opposition Party.
On the other hand, President Mnangagwa’s second term plea is challenged by the economic failures of his rule, which resulted to currency shortages, inflation spikes, and soaring unemployment rates, leading the ordinary Zimbabweans to abject poverty.
Mnangagwa has been a strong ally of Mugabe, served as vice president prior to his resignation in 2017 after the coup, and also served as a Security Minister in the 1980s.
Despite his attempts to present himself as a reformer, the 80-year-old has been frequently accused of being more repressive than the leader he assisted in toppling.
However, analysts argue that the ruling ZANU-PF, which has ruled for nearly four decades, has an unfair edge, because it has the major players in Zimbabwe’s security apparatus in their pocket.
Moreover, political commentators have concluded that, if the elections run without any repressions from the government, the opposition party may claim victory, due to the economic situation of the country.
United States Raise Concerns
According to the spokesman for the State Department of the US, Matthew Miller, the United States is concerned about the conduct of the Zimbabwean elections on the eve of voting, citing previous elections as a reference.
Miller admonished all contesting parties to push for a free and fair elections.
“We call on the government of Zimbabwe and all political leaders to ensure the elections are free of violence and coercion.
“We are concerned by recent actions leading up to the elections, including political violence and legislation that curtails human rights and freedoms enshrined in Zimbabwe’s constitution.”Matthew Miller, Spokesman of the United States’ State Department.