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Home / World / Polls open as Zimbabweans vote on the first Mugabe-free election

Polls open as Zimbabweans vote on the first Mugabe-free election



The polls started on Monday at 7:00 am ET and will close at 7:00 pm

The ballot box was touted as the first time that the African nation made a choice without the former strongman in nearly four decades Although Mugabe is not on the ballot, his influence continues to be felt.

The now disgraced 94-year-old could not resist returning to the political arena on the eve of the vote. In his first major political statement since his ouster last November, Mugabe said he would not vote for his former party Zanu-PF or current President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

"I can not vote for Zanu-PF, I can not vote for the people who brought me to this state," Mugabe said during a press conference in the garden of his home in Harare on Sunday [1

9659005] "I have to be clear say that I can not vote for those who have tormented me, I can not, "added the ailing former revolutionary. "I will make my case among the other 22 (of the 23 candidates)."

It is unclear if and how Mugabe's intervention will affect voters. He had to resign after almost four decades of power at the end of last year, after his decision to dismiss Mnangagwa, his then vice president, had triggered a crisis.

Now Mnangagwa is president and leader of the former Zanu-PF party in Mugabe

"Far from being free"

Whatever Mugabe may have done in his months of exile, the goal his return to the political limelight was clear.

Mugabe accused 75 The one-year Mnangagwa, his party and the army create an environment for Zimbabweans who are "far from being free"

"I've been crying for return all this while – our return to Constitutionalism, our return to legality, our return to freedom for our people and our environment where our people will be free – they were not free, "Mugabe said. "Since that day, when tanks rolled around the country when there was a takeover by the army."

Mugabe added that he "honored" the benefits of his family and the attacks against her denounced his family, especially his wife.

"I do not accept the denunciations and vilifications my wife makes in the papers every day for nothing," he said. Go away, go and leave my wife alone!

Mnangagwa used Mugabe's intervention to attack his main rival, 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), alleging that the former leader had "faked" a deal with the MDC.

"Now "If it is clear to all that Chamisa has made a deal with Mugabe, we can no longer believe that he wants to transform Zimbabwe and rebuild our nation," said Mnangagwa, who served Mugabe for decades on Sunday.

The choice is clear: either you choose Mugabe under the guise of Chamisa, or you vote for a new Zimbabwean under my leadership and the Zanu PF. A real change is coming. We All Should Be Part of It "

Chamisa panicked Mnangagwa's response during a same-day news conference in which he attacked the country's electoral commission for his role in the election and said it was biased in favor of Mnangagwa. 19659002] Chamisa assumed leadership of the MDC following the death of its founder and longtime anti-Mugabe activist Morgan Tsvangirai, who died of cancer in February

hoping to address younger voters with promises of electoral reform, tax cuts and jobs. " People associate themselves with young leadership, "said Chamisa Agence-France Press.

There have been some public appearances by Mugabe and his wife Grace, nicknamed" Gucci Grace "for their love of luxury since their fall from power. They spent time in Singapore, where they receive medical treatment, and their posh house with 25 rooms in Harare.

The results of the parliamentary election It is expected on 4 August that the country's constitution will ask the electoral commission in Zimbabwe to publish results within five days of the completion of the polls.

CNN's Columbus S. Mavhunga, Mahatir Pasha and Sheena McKenzie contributed to this report


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