The elections in Zimbabwe are a high stakes game, with a lot of issues like democracy, economic problems, poor health facilities, weak public institutions being top priority issues for candidates. Who will win?
Zimbabwe is a country which has a patched history. Part of Zimbabwe's history is beautiful, and the other part is dark, just like any other country. Zimbabwe finds itself under the unending hegemony of the rule of ZANU-PF, the country's liberation party. The party seems to go nowhere. It is deeply entrenched in every part of Zimbabwe's economical, political and societal aspects.
Change is something that Zimbabweans have yearned for. Well, the majority of Zimbabweans. There is a consensus in Zimbabwe that ZANU-PF have led Zimbabwe on a ruinous and catastrophic path, marked with violence, murder, economic collapse, weak health structures, cash crises, electoral manipulation, weak public institutions, corruption, greediness and other massive human rights abuses. Thus, supporting ZANU-PF means you are too brainwashed, you are benefiting from the corrupt system or you are just too privileged and as such any political result won't affect your life negatively.
Emmerson Mnangagwa has tried very hard to erase this image of ZANU-PF, but Zimbabweans now know better. On the other hand, another sizeable part of the population believe Nelson Chamisa is incapable of change and Emmerson Mnangagwa will deliver change. The other 19 presidential candidates, well, no one is really talking about them.
However, Emmerson Mnangagwa, in the few months he has been president, has failed to dissociate the negative image of ZANU-PF from the people. He has failed to improve the health structure of the country, retaining old and corrupt ministers who served under Mugabe. He has failed to solve the country's cash crisis, and he has not removed repressive legislation.
Nelson Chamisa has given hope to the young and the old, and represents change. Nelson Chamisa is being the face of change. Zimbabweans are fed up, and deserve better. The odds have been stacked against him, but he has defied them. When Tsvangirai passed on, many people thought that was the death of the opposition. But Chamisa resuscitated the opposition, bringing a newfound hope for the better.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has shown partiality in their conduct, and serious claims of vote rigging including voters' poll manipulation have been raised. State media has been biased towards ZANU-PF. There were reports of a missing polling station, names appearing twice on the voters roll and other names not appearing at all. There had been slow progress at some polling stations to frustrate the urban vote.
But people are determined. The urban people are worried their rural folk will vote overwhelmingly for ZANU-PF. Zimbabwe is on the cusp of something disruptive. Who will win the elections? Emmerson Mnangagwa, or Nelson Chamisa?
Header image credit: Daily Maverick
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