Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa, Chamisa head toward elections

By Laureen Fagan - 11 August 2023 at 4:05 pm
Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa, Chamisa head toward elections

Zimbabwe is heading into the final weeks before its August 23 elections, which have President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling Zanu PF party again facing Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC).

Campaigning continues, with Mnangagwa telling supporters that their vote for him has religious rewards. The 80-year-old Mnangagwa said Wednesday that people who vote Zanu PF will go to heaven. Meanwhile Chamisa, who lost the presidency to Mnangagwa by a slim margin in 2018, says the CCC is not being presented fairly and equally by Zimbabwe media. Chamisa disputed the 2018 election results which were ultimately upheld by the courts.

Observers say the runup to the election has been peaceful with few exceptions, including the death of an opposition party activist last week. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and others plan to send election observer teams to Zimbabwe, which has experienced political and economic stress in recent years.

Mnangagwa assumed power following the removal of the late Robert Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years and was forced out by coup. The 95-year-old Mugabe subsequently died in 2019, with Zanu PF still in power and many viewing Mnangagwa’s tenure as illegitimate.

In addition to concerns over electoral violence, a new law passed in July allows for government repression of opposition politicians and journalists who are critical of the government, in the name of national security. Some analysts and human rights groups have warned the law may place pressure on free and fair elections, with Chamisa accusing Mnangagwa of leveraging the police and other government agencies against the opposition.

Image: CCC/Chamisa

Laureen Fagan

Laureen Fagan

Laureen is the editor of Africa Times

Laureen is a freelance journalist creating high-quality, informed content on international affairs, politics and technology. She has worked both in and out of newsrooms since 2000. She is a former paramedic with significant experience in community resilience and nonprofit community development initiatives, and maintains "a passion for action" on sustainability and climate change. She also is trained in conflict resolution and diversity, and has special interests in science and medical reporting, and culture and religion issues. Laureen received her MSJ from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in the United States, and completed additional graduate study in theology at University of Notre Dame. Follow Laureen on Mastodon at @laureen@m.ai6yr.org

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