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Zimbabwe votes as the president known as 'the crocodile' seeks a second and final term

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa (C) receives members of the EU Election Observation Mission for a courtesy call at State House in Harare on August 21 2023   -  
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Zimbabweans voted in closely-watched elections in which President Emmerson Mnangagwa is seeking a second term after a campaign tainted by a crackdown on the opposition, fears of vote rigging and public anger at the economic crisis.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, 80, who came to power after a coup that deposed late ruler Robert Mugabe in 2017, squares off against Nelson Chamisa, 45, who leads the yellow-coloured Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party.

Casting his ballot in his home town of Kwekwe, central Zimbabwe, a confident Mnangagwa -- nicknamed the 'Crocodile' for his determination -- told journalists: "If I think I'm not going to take it, then I will be foolish."

"Everyone who contests should go into the race to win"

"Peace, peace, peace and fairness, during before and after, peace peace. "

"This time around there has been more awareness than in the past, I think we shall have a higher turnout this time around. And that besides now we have more than 6 million people registered as voters, last time we have only about 5 million, so there's (inaudible) a million more. And I think this time around there was quite publicity" he added, sporting his trademark multicoloured scarf.

The opposition is hoping to ride a wave of discontent over the southern African country's economic woes that include graft, high inflation, unemployment and widespread poverty.

But delays in opening some polling stations, especially in the capital, an opposition stronghold, raised opposition concerns.

"Funny games or no funny games our victory is certain," Chamisa said after casting his ballot in a Harare township.

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