Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Zimbabwe to hold presidential election within five months

Zimbabwe to hold presidential election within five months Zimbabwe to hold presidential election within five months
Lora Ball | 20 January, 2018, 02:06

After announcing earlier this week that elections will be held in four to five months, the new president invited global observers to Zimbabwe for the vote.

Main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is likely to contest the election.

Mnangagwa now hopes to change Zimbabwe's image and said that he will ensure "free, credible, fair, and indisputable elections".

Mnangagwa has adopted a more diplomatic tone since taking over as leader in November, after the ousting of the authoritarian Robert Mugabe, his former boss.

Now Mnangagwa, 75, is under pressure himself to deliver on the economy and show that he is breaking with the policies of Mugabe, whose 37-year rule since independence in 1980 turned a promising country into an economic basket case and global pariah.

Mnangagwa has appointed military officials to key government positions and pledged to revive the economy by boosting agricultural production and attracting foreign investment.

Parts of Zimbabwe are desperately poor after years of economic mismanagement and rampant corruption under Mugabe.

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Mnangagwa had promised a fresh vote soon after the ruling ZANU-PF party, acknowledging that the people of Zimbabwe should directly elect their country's leader, Parliament and local government.

"The MDC is... deeply concerned by the continued militarisation of villages around the country. We have solid and incontrovertible evidence pointing to the fact that thousands of army officers in civilian attire have been deployed into the countryside for the purposes of carrying out clandestine political campaigns on behalf of ZANU-PF", a MDC statement said.

The election had been expected in late July or August.

Since 2000, which coincided with Mugabe's often violent seizure of land from white farmers, elections in Zimbabwe have been marred by political violence and disputes.

Some of the legislators were cabinet ministers in Mugabe's government.

Resolving the land issue could unlock foreign investment in agriculture and help mend ties between Harare and the West.

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