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Zimbabwe’s presidential campaign tightens in the last 10 days

President Mnangagwa and main opposition leader Mr Nelson Chamisa to headline 2023 elections

By Farai Chirimumimba

Zimbabwe’s presidential race is tightening in its final 10 days with opposition MDC Alliance candidate Nelson Chamisa narrowing the gap on front runner incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a final poll showed on Friday.

An Afrobarometer poll showed 40 percent of the voters are set to back Mnangagwa in the July 30 first round, a fall of 3 percent in the past months. Chamisa added 4 percent points up from 33 percent in recent months to 37 percent, a huge leap towards catching up with Mnangagwa.

A whopping 20 percent however, refused; don’t know or will not vote. In other words many of these voters remain uncertain of who they will vote for. This is where the swing vote is, a candidate who is able to impress in these last 10 days will get the swing vote. To win in the first round, a candidate requires 50 percent plus one vote of the vote. Only the top two candidates go forward to a September 8 runoff, where Mnangagwa is tipped to clash with Chamisa.

Mnangagwa a veteran public officer since independence from Britain in 1980 is offering the electorate world class education and health facilities which some analysts argue how he will provide when in the past 38 years the ruling ZANU-PF has dismally failed in this regards. Bogged down by allegations of voters’ roll manipulation, Mnangagwa got a boost on Thursday from an endorsement by election watchdog Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) of the voters’ roll. “Overall, ZESN finds that the 2018 voters’ roll received on the 18th of June is an improvement over the 2013 preliminary voters’ roll, “ Mr. Andrew Makoni ZESN Chairperson said.

Chamisa plans to ditch the bond note and build a breathtaking road network has been clashing with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) over its inflexibility. Opponents say he is too inexperience for the top job. Of the 23 candidates vying for the presidency, not a single candidate has been articulate on how they aim to transcend the traditional left-right divide in Zimbabwean politics and reduce public spending and taxes.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende