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Election ongoing in Zimbabwe: Time for a fresh start for all

Election ongoing in Zimbabwe: Time for a fresh start for all

Today Zimbabwe holds presidential and parliamentary elections on Monday in which the top two contenders, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, have promised to revive an economy under Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule.

Having elections for the first time without Robert Mugabe as a candidate is a change several generations of Zimbabwean are getting used to.

It should be hoped whoever will win, would be wise to work with all talents in Zimbabwe to allow those qualified to contribute. It takes leaders and openness to take this country out of economic collapse.

It may be a wise decision for a future president to announce a general amnesty and a fresh start for everyone.  Zimbabwe needs to address the future and not the past. Most likely, the travel and tourism industry will have a major part in it.

Zimbabwe’s former leader 94-year-old Robert Mugabe has refused to back his successor just a day before the country’s historic vote today. Mr. Mugabe addressed the nation for the first time since stepping down in November and declared that “I will not vote for those who have illegally taken power.”

Zimbabwe has 5.7 million registered voters who are expected to cast their ballots at 10,985 polling stations dotted around the southern African nation.

Voters directly elect a president, 210 members of parliament and more than 9,000 councilors. Sixty women will be appointed through proportional representation to the House of Assembly while 60 people will be appointed in the upper Senate chamber via the same system.

Voting started at 7am and will end at 7pm. Vote tallying and counting starts immediately after the close of polls and results for council, parliament and president are posted outside each polling station.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will announce winners for parliament in their constituencies, while results for president will be announced at the commission’s headquarters in Harare within five days of voting.

A presidential candidate requires 50 percent plus one vote for an outright win. If no candidate gets that, a runoff will be held on 8 September between the top two contestants.

So far the election is progressing peacefully, and long lines in front of polling stations are the norm.

The country is in urgent need of healing. It appears a hunt on former leaders, economic hardship and anger are making leading this Southern African nation impossible.