Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa re-elected for second, final term

Public TV English
Public TV English
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HARARE: Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa was on Saturday re-elected for a second and final term in an election marred by widespread allegations that the governing party, ZANU-PF had committed fraud, The New York Times reported.

Mnangagwa’s victory over his closest competitor, Nelson Chamisa, after his first full term in office, strengthened ZANU-PF’s grip on power in a nation it has led since independence from Britain in 1980.

Zimbabwe has over the past two decades suffered under disastrous economic policies that have led to soaring prices, high unemployment and a medical system lacking basic drugs and equipment.

With Mnangagwa, 80, winning another five years in office, Zimbabwe is likely to continue to struggle to break out of its isolation from Western nations, which have demanded greater democracy and respect for human rights in exchange for helping it grapple with USD 18 billion in debt.

The South African nation of 16 million, has a history of election irregularities, and such tactics helped Robert Mugabe, a liberation leader turned autocrat, maintain power for nearly four decades, as per The New York Times.

Mugabe was removed in a coup in 2017 by Mnangagwa and his allies. The following year, Mnangagwa eked out a victory over Chamisa in an election, winning just over 50 per cent of the vote.

This year’s voting, held on Wednesday, was marred by chaotic delays of more than ten hours at some polling locations because the country’s electoral commission failed to deliver ballots on time.

Many voters had to camp overnight at polling stations because of the delays, which mostly affected urban areas, where Chamisa and his party hold most of their support, The New York Times reported.

The Zimbabwean police drew global condemnation for arresting dozens of members of one of the country’s most respected election watchdogs on election night, accusing them of plotting to sow discord by releasing projected election results. The night after the raid, ZANU-PF officials offered their own election projections at a news conference, and drew no ire from the police.

Several independent foreign observer missions criticized the fairness and credibility of the elections before the results were announced.

The European Union’s mission offered among the most biting critiques, saying in a statement that the government curtailed fundamental freedoms by passing repressive laws “and by acts of violence and intimidation, which resulted in a climate of fear.” (ANI)

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