March 1, 2024

Zimbabweans vote amid socio-economic woes

Voting has commenced in presidential and parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe, where the opposition is pushing to bring an end to the 43-year rule of the Zanu-PF party.

 

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is running for re-election following a first term in which runaway inflation, currency shortages, and soaring unemployment made life miserable for Zimbabweans.

 

Mnangagwa took over the affairs of the country after longtime leader Robert Mugabe was toppled in a 2017 military coup.

 

He faces 10 other candidates including his main challenger, lawyer and pastor Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

 

Foreign lenders including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have stated that a free and fair election is a must for any substantive talks with the cash-strapped country.

 

Polls opened at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) and were expected to close at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT).

 

Some 6.6 million people are registered to vote in the nation of about 15 million population.

 

Vote counting will begin as soon as polling stations close, and parliamentary results are anticipated to come in throughout Thursday morning.

 

The presidential results are expected within a five-day deadline.

 

Meanwhile the Zimbabwean Police have urged voters to leave the polling stations immediately they exercise their rights. The caution came after some NGOs called on the citizens to defend their vote against manipulation.

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