Zimbabwe’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced that elections will be held within “four to five months”, the first since the end of Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule last year.
Mnangagwa, who was sworn in after Mugabe was forced to resign following a military takeover in November, also reaffirmed a pledge that the elections would be “free, credible, fair and indisputable”.
“Zimbabwe is going for elections in four to five months’ time and we have to preach peace, peace and peace,” the new president, who served as Mugabe’s right hand man for decades before taking power, said during a visit to neighbouring Mozambique.
Successive polls have been marred by violence and intimidation, leading to sanctions and the diplomatic isolation of the former British colony.
The vote is being seen as a key test of Mnangagwa’s democratic credentials and it is crucial to unlocking badly needed financial assistance from international financial institutions as well as repairing relations with western powers.
“We will ensure that Zimbabwe delivers free, credible, fair and indisputable elections to ensure Zimbabwe engages the world as a qualified democratic state,” Mnangagwa was quoted as saying by the Herald, a government-run newspaper.
Under the constitution, Zimbabwe should hold elections between 22 July and 22 August, but parliament can elect to dissolve itself, triggering an early vote. The ruling Zanu-PF party holds a two-thirds majority in parliament…..