ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwe is going to the polls in its first election since authoritarian leader Robert Mugabe was ousted last year.
Former Liberian president, who is also a leader of the international observer missions has described the elections as “a critical moment in Zimbabwe’s democratic journey”.
“The elections today provide an opportunity to break with the past,” Sirleaf said at a polling station in a school in Harare.
“The lines and voter enthusiasm we are seeing this morning must be matched by an accurate count and their choice must be honoured.”
Zimbabwean top opposition lawmaker Eddie Cross has reportedly predicted a massive victory for Emmerson Mnangagwa in the country’s most contested plebiscite on Monday.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, the outgoing Movement for Democratic change lawmaker also praised his party boss Nelson Chamisa for putting up a good fight.
Cross, however, said that the country’s ruling Zanu-PF presidential candidate was likely going to emerge victorious after the polls as he has revived the country’s hopes. “We will see on Monday, but I think Emmerson will get the majority.
I think Chamisa has done a good fight, but he is not going to win majority,” Cross was quoted as saying.
Of importance to note in this election is the presence of Western election monitors for the first time in years.
According to AP, this is an indicator of a freer political environment, though concerns have been raised about state media bias toward the ruling party as well as a lack of transparency with the printing of ballot papers.
European Union election observers were seen at one polling station in Harare, checking the voting process.
African Unions attended the opening of polling stations elsewhere. Even though it was a public holiday, some government offices were open so that those who had lost identity cards could get replacements and then cast their ballots.
Inside polling stations, voters were given three ballot papers: one for their presidential pick, another for a member of parliament and a third for local councilor. Polling officers helped voters put each ballot paper in the right box.
“We need change because we have suffered a lot here,” said 65-year-old Mable Mafaro while voting in Harare. “We have suffered a lot. That’s all.”