Zimbabweans on Monday will vote in an election that former long-time ruler Robert Mugabe will not participate in – for the first time in 37 years.
By Ray Ndlovu
For every election over those last 37 years‚ Mugabe had dominated. Now‚ in his absence‚ and his absence – and that of his closest lieutenants purged by Zanu PF last November – has meant a rise of new candidates vying for office in the election.
This publication’s team on the ground in Zimbabwe explain below the salient features of the July 30 election‚ including some of the key candidates‚ how voting will take place and when the results of the hotly-contested presidential race are expected to be released.
• The election is often referred to as “harmonized election” as voters will at the same time choose a candidates for president‚ parliament and local government on voting day; • The president of Zimbabwe is elected using a two-round system.
This system is also known as run-off voting. It is a poll method used to elect a single winner‚ where the voter casts a single vote for their chosen candidate. If no candidate receives the required number of votes‚ then those candidates who received fewer than a certain proportion of the votes – or all but the two candidates who received the most votes – are eliminated‚ and a second round of voting is held; • The results of the presidential election‚ according to the Electoral Act‚ must be released within five days of voting.
The winner of the presidential election will be announced on August 4 by the chairperson of the electoral commission‚ Priscilla Chigumba; • All the 23 presidential candidates taking part in the July 30 election are first-time contestants in a presidential election; • Only four women are contesting for president in the July 30 polls.
These are Joice Mujuru‚ of the People’s Rainbow Coalition‚ Thokozani Khuphe‚ of the MDC-T‚ Melbah Dzapasi of #1980 Freedom Movement Zimbabwe and Violet Mariyacha of United Democratic Movement;
• One of the contestants for the presidency‚ Bryn Mteki‚ is a musician and was once a praise singer of former ruler‚ Robert Mugabe;
• Nkosana Moyo‚ president of the Alliance for People’s Agenda‚ was a former cabinet minister in Mugabe’s government. He sent a fax to his former boss‚ Mugabe‚ informing him of his resignation in 2001. Mugabe was to later call him a “coward” for resigning via a letter and failing to tell him to his face;
• The incumbent‚ President Emmerson Mnangagwa‚ is referred to as “ED” by his supporters‚ a play on his initials of his two names Emmerson Dambudzo.
In political circles‚ he is widely known as the “Crocodile”;
• MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa is nicknamed “Wamba dia Wamba” by the party’s youths.
He is named after the commander of the opposition‚ Rally for Congolese Democracy‚ who is also a prominent academic and theorist in the Democratic Republic of Congo;
• There are 210 seats available for the House of Assembly‚ being contested by various political parties and independent candidates;
• 55 political parties are registered to take part in the election‚ although there are 133 political parties‚ according to figures from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission;
• The final tally of registered voters is 5.6-million‚ according to the electoral commission; and • The MDC Alliance is the largest opposition coalition and is made up of seven political parties.
These are the MDC-T led by Nelson Chamisa‚ the MDC led by Welshman Ncube‚ the People’s Democratic Party led by Tendai Biti‚ Transform Zimbabwe led by Jacob Ngarivhume‚ Zimbabwe People First led by Agrippa Mutambara‚ Zanu-Ndonga led by Denford Musayarira and Multi-Racial Democratic Christian Party led by Mathias Guchutu.
Source: The Sowetan