Zimbabwe qualifies eleven presidential candidates for August election

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa

The Zimbabwean electoral commission recently announced that eleven candidates are set to contest the presidency in the forthcoming August election, following the disqualification of several hopefuls who failed to meet the required $20,000 entry fee.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling ZANU-PF party is expected to go head-to-head with formidable contender Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), a prominent lawyer and pastor.

Late on Thursday, the commission revealed the disqualification of 11 aspirants who could not secure their positions on the ballot for the election scheduled on August 23. The list included Linda Masarira, a notable female contender, who, among others, failed to meet the $20,000 deadline on Wednesday.

Reacting to the situation, Masarira criticised the financial requirement as prohibitive and discriminatory, arguing it contradicts the non-discriminatory provisions of the law. “The $20,000 is exorbitant, it is discriminatory in nature and violates the section that speaks to non-discrimination in the eyes of the law,” she said.

However, Zimbabwe is all set to choose its new president and parliament on the said date. With Mnangagwa and Chamisa being the top contenders, they carry the weight of reviving Zimbabwe’s dwindling economic fortunes.

Interestingly, the election has seen the rise of an independent candidate, Saviour Kasukuwere, a former minister in Robert Mugabe’s cabinet. Political analysts predict that Kasukuwere, who sought exile during the coup that ousted Mugabe and has harboured presidential ambitions, could attract votes in the ZANU-PF strongholds.

Mnangagwa, now 80, is vying for another term against the backdrop of an economic collapse, with the Zimbabwean dollar nose-diving by over 50% against the U.S. dollar this month alone. Despite the challenges, Mnangagwa remained upbeat about the democratic process when he filed his nomination at the High Court on Wednesday. “Countrywide the process is going very well, and it shows that Zimbabwe is now a mature democracy. This process is so peaceful and that is what we want,” he asserted.

Chamisa, on the other hand, who narrowly missed out on the presidency in the last election held in 2018, expressed optimism about his party’s prospects. He is confident that his party is well-positioned to assume government control this time around.

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