Zimbabwe prepares to vote in historic election that will shape post-Mugabe future

Zimbabwe prepares to vote in historic election that will shape post-Mugabe future

Over four thousand electoral observers will arrive in Zimbabwe today as the country prepares for its first legitimate election in

Supporters of President Emmerson Mnangagwa gather at an election rally in Marondera

Photo: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Over four thousand electoral observers will arrive in Zimbabwe today as the country prepares for its first legitimate election in 38 years.

The election wills see incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the Zanu-PF Party—installed following Mugabe’s removal—face Nelson Chamisa, the leader of opposition Movement of Democratic Change Party. Recent polling has shown Mnangagwa to be ahead of his rival by three points. Mnangagwa’s lead in the polls can be partially explained due to public scepticism towards a relatively new and little-known opposition candidate.

Regardless of the outcome, both candidates are vying to show that they are capable of restoring positive political change to the country, which is needed to attract greatly needed foreign investment. Indeed, Zimbabwe’s economy is in a poor state and needs huge levels of foreign capital to revamp infrastructure, healthcare, and overburdened state-owned enterprises.

Electoral observers will be critical in reporting developments to the world as voting gets underway, with the main concern being the potential Zanu-PF reaction if the opposition manages to achieve victory. While unlikely, a Zanu-PF loss would continue the current political trend in Africa of public discontent with liberation-era political parties.

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