The interim leader of Zimbabwe, Ernest Mnangagwa, is in a hurry to confer legitimacy to his government. This is why he has announced that the country’s first presidential and parliamentary elections since the end of the 37-year reign of Robert Mugabe will take place in July.
The new leader will use the polls to know whether or not the people want him to be substantive President after taking power last November following the ousting of the 93-year-old Mugabe.
For many Zimbabweans, it will be the first time Mugabe’s name will not be on the ballot since independence from Britain in 1980.
The 75-year old former Vice-President said the elections would be free of the violence that characterized previous polls which contributed to the stand-off between Zimbabwe and the West. He declared, “I have already invited all political parties in Zimbabwe to a roundtable where we all commit ourselves to non-violence”.
The government will have to announce a date in an official notice and has said it would invite Western observers, who were shunned under Mugabe’s rule. The Head of the European Union mission in Zimbabwe, Phillipe Damme, has assured that the EU would meet the president, political party leaders, and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission before the polls.