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Zimbabwe 2018 Elections – A nervous wait

Zimbabwe 2018 Elections – A nervous wait.

Mandla Akhe Dube

On July 30, about 5.5 million Zimbabwean voters have an opportunity to elect -for the next five years - a president, Members of Parliament and Senate.
This is being dubbed the second most significant election after the 1980 one which ushered in a majority government. There is a window of opportunity into the ‘second republic’.

The stakes are high. A metamorphized Zanu PF, under Edison Mnangagwa is seeking legitimacy after coming into office last November with the help of the military. The largest opposition, under the banner MDC Alliance, believes their time is now. They are being fronted by Zimbabwe’s youngest ever presidential contender – Nelson Chamisa, 40. Conspicuously there are 21 other presidential candidates.

Notable among these is Thokozani Khupe who legally retained the political name MDC-T. The rest lead political parties that were formed less than a year ago.
60% of the electorate are in rural areas where Zanu PF has traditionally commanded a majority.

Notable improvements post Mugabe are that this time round the international community has been invited to observe the election. The global media has also been accredited and internet access means news in and around Zimbabwe is travelling fast.

Remarkably, there has been commendable peace in the country and political parties have freely campaigned. Under Mugabe violence was central to elections.
A majority youth will inevitably vote for change. But are they registered and will they endure any machinations of frustrating them through long queues on the day? Time will tell.

Most pundits are calling it too close to call, with the EU, England and USA quipping Zanu PF to win by a slender margin.

Yours truly is cautiously nervous. I dread the possibility of a run-off and wish it is all settled at once. A failure to dislodge Zanu PF this time is the death nail to the MDC in any form, shape or name. Fortunately, all this is happening while I am in the comfort of my secondary home. 2008 broke my heart and effectively distanced me from my primary home. Sad reality check.

At a glance
Election Date: July 30, 2018
23 Presidential candidates- highest in Zimbabwe’s history
One day vote, 5.5m registered voters
EU, Commonwealth, AU, SADC, NDI and Carter Institute observer missions in the country
Results expected in 4 days, August 3.
Presidential candidate must garner 50% plus votes or there is a re-run pitting top two. This must be held by September 20.
The best summary so far about these elections is from Reuters:

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