Millions of Zimbabweans go to the polls today to vote for a new president – the first time in almost four decades where they will see a ballot form without the name of Robert Mugabe on it.
The 75-year-old Emmerson Mnangagwa, the country’s current leader from the Zanu-PF party, and the 40-year-old head of the Movement for Democratic Change leader, Nelson Chamisa, are the frontrunners for the five-year term of president.
That Mugabe doesn’t feature on the ballot is due to him stepping down late last year after days of protests led by the country’s military, following 37 years of rule often marred by violence.
According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the country has around 5.5 million registered voters, of which 200 000 are first-time voters.
A total of 23 candidates are running in the presidential election and 55 parties are competing in the parliamentary races – the biggest number in Zimbabwe’s post-colonial history.
Results are expected by next Saturday. If no candidate wins 50% plus one of the votes, a runoff will be held on September 8.
Let’s hope for free, fair and peaceful elections.