Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa, Kasukuwere, & Chamisa aim for presidency

Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa, Kasukuwere, & Chamisa aim for presidency
Zimbabwean opposition leader Nelson Chamisa addresses the press outside the investiture court in Harare, Zimbabwe, June 21, 2023.   -  
Copyright © africanews
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP


Zimbabwe’s president, the country's main opposition leader and a former ruling party stalwart exiled following a coup are all seeking to run in the presidential election scheduled for August. The three registered to run on Wednesday, and the national electoral agency is to announce the final list of confirmed candidates.

The August 23rd vote is expected to be another closely watched affair in a country with a history of violent and disputed elections. Along with the presidential election, Zimbabweans will also vote to decide the makeup of the 350-seat parliament and close to 2,000 local council positions on the same date.

If no presidential candidate wins a clear majority in the first round, a runoff will be held on Oct. 2.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling ZANU-PF party is seeking what would be the 80-year-old's final five-year term. He is expected to be closely challenged by opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, whom he narrowly beat in a disputed election in 2018.

Saviour Kasukuwere, a former Cabinet minister and top ruling party official who fled to neighboring South Africa after a 2017 coup that deposed longtime leader Robert Mugabe and brought Mnangagwa to power, also registered as a candidate. It was not immediately known if Kasukuwere had returned to Zimbabwe.

“The process is going very well. I am happy that Zimbabwe is now a mature democracy,” Mnangagwa told reporters at the nomination court. He appealed for peaceful elections, even as he and his party have been accused of adopting repressive tactics to stifle any opposition to their rule.

Chamisa, the 45-year-old leader of the Citizens Coalition for Change, said he was confident of victory, but alleged there were voters’ roll irregularities and repeated his claims that his supporters have been intimidated.

Once a close ally of the autocratic Mugabe, Mnangagwa has tried to cast himself as a reformer despite accusations that he is even more repressive than the man he helped remove from power.

Human rights groups have accused Mnangagwa of trying to silence criticism as tensions rise due to a currency crisis, a sharp hike in food prices, a weakening public health system and a lack of formal jobs.

Zimbabwe has faced severe economic problems for years and has been under U.S. sanctions for two decades over human rights abuses.

The southern African nation of 15 million people has only had two leaders since it gained independence from white minority rule in 1980. Mugabe, who died in 2019, led Zimbabwe for 37 years until he was removed and replaced by Mnangagwa in the 2017 coup.

Mnangagwa had served as a vice president under Mugabe.

View more