Counting is officially underway in Zimbabwe’s first general election since Robert Mugabe was forced out of office in November, led by Emmerson Mnangagwa and the military. Today was a historic one for Zimbabwe as voters decided between the two front runners, incumbent Mnangagwa and his opponent, Nelson Chamisa. In total, 23 candidates ran and a runoff election will be held in September if no one candidate receives 50% of the votes, but the race was largely between Mnangagwa and Chamisa. Mugabe had held power since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 and this is the first time in 37 years that he was not on the ballot.
Many hope this will be an election that Mugabe does not have a hand in - making it the first valid free and fair election since he took office over 3 decades ago. To authenticate this election the citizens of Zimbabwe were encouraged to fill out forms outside of polling stations to record their voting data. The results of today's elections are expected to be announced within the next 5 days.
Citizens’ Manifesto, a group dedicated to building the future of Zimbabwe, is working to defend citizens’ votes as legitimate. They are using people power to ensure authenticity and validity in this historic election. You can check out more of their work here.