More than five million Zimbabweans will vote today in presidential, parliamentary and local elections. There are 23 candidates on the presidential secret ballot.
The country is expecting high numbers of first-time voters, where the youth vote is expected to be key, with almost half of those registered being under the age of 35.
The country, which has known decades of repressive rule, faces severe economic challenges.
These include issues of investment, education, healthcare and jobs – some estimates suggest that the unemployment rate in Zimbabwe is as high as 90%.
The favourites in addressing these challenges are Zanu-PF’s President Mnangagwa, 75, and the MDC’s Mr Chamisa, 40.
An opinion poll last week saw the MDC close the gap with Zanu-PF from 11 percentage points to three, with 20% of voters undecided. It was only the second of two opinion polls.
Election in numbers
- 5,635,706 people have re-registered to a new voters’ roll; the opposition still has doubts about its accuracy
- 5% of registered voters are under 35
- 10,985 polling stations
- 16 years since EU and US observers were allowed to monitor elections
Nelson Chamisa, 40 – MDC Alliance
- His skull was fractured when beaten up by state security agents in 2007
- Became an MP at 25, a cabinet minister at 31 and could be the youngest president at 40
- A recently qualified pastor, he has been using the hashtag #GodIsInIt for his campaign
- Witty and humorous orator – his rallies and news conferences are accompanied by much laughter
Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75 – Zanu-PF
- Known as “the crocodile” because of his political shrewdness – his party faction is known as “Lacoste”
- Accused of masterminding attacks on opposition supporters after 2008 election
- Thought to be 75 years old, he promises to deliver jobs and is seen as open to economic reforms
- Survived several alleged assassination attempts, blamed on supporters of ex-President Mugabe
Is there any probability of another candidate winning besides these two? Probably yes, that’s why they are elections, they can shock and humble you. Let the people decide.
Author: Staff Writer