Doubts about Zimbabwe’s July 30 elections drove many opposition supporters into the streets to protest, and the military promptly cracked down on the unrest. The bullets fired on those days have left lasting damage.
Zimbabwe is readying for the country’s first post-Mugabe elections, and plenty of new parties have sprung up to compete. There’s just one problem: The parties are having trouble finding money to join the race.
At 40 years old and head of the main opposition bloc, Nelson Chamisa is the face of the Movement For Democratic Change Alliance in Zimbabwe. But he has called into question whether the country’s electoral commission has correctly prepared the ballot for the July 30 presidential election – and he says he won’t participate until his concerns are addressed.
Sitting President Emmerson Mnangagwa led a military intervention against longtime President Robert Mugabe, but he also served for years as Mugabe’s top deputy. Now, Zimbabweans going to the polls wonder which Mnangagwa they’re voting for.
Under former President Robert Mugabe, who was ousted from office in November after nearly four decades of authoritarian rule, Zimbabwe’s economy fell apart so badly that economists today are challenged even to calculate the country’s astronomical unemployment rate. With structural problems and long-standing friction between the country’s major population groups, presidential candidates and citizens alike are wondering how to address the persistent lack of jobs.
During Elton Mangoma’s years in the Movement for Democratic Change, he saw the opposition party descend into the same corrupt practices that had infected Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU-PF, as well as institutions throughout the country. In his run for president, Mangoma is emphasizing the need to fight corruption, along with policies to revive Zimbabwe’s feeble economy.
A law professor at the University of Zimbabwe, Madhuku got his start in public life as one of the leaders of a civic movement pushing for a new constitution in the late ‘90s. Though Madhuku acknowledges that his chances of winning the July 30 presidential election are slim, he says he wants to add to the diversity of voices in the country’s political arena, in order to help nurture democracy in Zimbabwe.
After years of sanctions and hesitation among private investors, Zimbabweans hope a fresh era with a new president will attract jobs to their country. If a July 30 election is viewed as free and fair, the rest of the world is much more likely to view Zimbabwe as a potentially lucrative destination for investment, analysts say.
Many Zimbabweans believe the country needs change after former President Robert Mugabe’s corruption-plagued rule. Nkosana Moyo is known for doing things differently, but voters wonder whether he’ll be able to get his message out while bucking traditions during his campaign.