Millions of Zimbabweans will tomorrow Monday July 30 queue up to decide on their next President, for the first time in 37 years without long term leader Robert Mugabe’s name on the ballot paper.
Mr Mugabe was ousted in November by the military and would later be deposed as leader of the ruling ZANU PF, leading to his resignation as President of the Southern Africa nation, having ruled it for nearly 37 years. His longtime ally and former Vice President, Emerson Mnangagwa was chosen to complete his term as the electoral body organizes general elections.
Mnangagwa was later nominated as the party’s flag bearer in elections in which more than five million Zimbabweans are expected to take part.
At least 23 candidates will appear on ballot tomorrow in a decisive and historic election, projected to give Zimbabwe a new economic and political face.
Following the subsequent death of long term opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai in February this year, his party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) fronted young and vibrant politician Nelson Chamisa as the party’s candidate.
However, he will battle it out with former deputy prime minister, Mr Thokozani Khuphe, who leads an MDC breakaway faction.
Like earlier stated, ruling ZANU PF maintains President Mnangagwa as a man to reckon on in tomorrow’s polls.
Other candidates include former Vice President and war veteran, Joyce Mujuru as well as senior politician, Elton Mangoma who represents a coalition of 9 political parties under Coalition of Democrats (CODE).
What are the stakes in this election?
Zimbabwe is one of the African countries with the highest literacy rates. It also faces high youth unemployment rates and since most of the registered voters are below 40 years, the electorate will focus most on candidates whose agenda leans more towards creation of jobs.
The 16 million people country has for long been buried in massive economic paralysis with the Zimbabwean dollar collapsing in 2009 amid sky-high inflation. Most candidates have told voters that they will prioritize revamping of the economy from the two-decade-long crisis.
Other key issues in the election are security, infrastructure and policies on land.
Who is Projected to Win?
The most recent survey conducted by a research organization, Afro Barometer, put Mr Mnangagwa ahead of the rest of the candidates with 40%, followed by projected closest rival Mr Chamisa at 37%.
The survey indicated that 20% of the people who responded to the survey were undecided.