Emmerson Mnangagwa promises Zimbabweans first free elections since Mugabe

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Zimbabwe will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on July 30, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday, a vote he promises will be free and fair with worldwide monitoring after the ouster of 94-year-old strongman Robert Mugabe.

This is the first post-Mugabe polls after the long-serving leader was deposed in a 2017 de facto coup.

Mnangagwa made these remarks Thursday when he addressed party members set to contest in the harmonized polls and those that lost in the Zanu PF primaries.

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Mnangagwa's main opponent will be Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change, Al Jazeera reported.

Mr Mnangagwa, 75, has invited Commonwealth officials to monitor voting in Zimbabwe for the first time since 2002.

Mnangagwa also fixed the Saturday the 8 day of September, 2018 as the day of the runoff election to the office of President.

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In a related development, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission member, Qhubani Moyo, has given an assurance that all contesting parties and candidates in the forthcoming national elections shall have access to the electronic voters" roll and will be able to get electronic copies of the same for a "small' fee.

Eldred Masunungure, a professor of political science at the University of Zimbabwe, said: "Though the election looks like it will go to the wire, the greater likelihood, based on cold-blooded analysis, is that experience, depth and state incumbency will triumph over youthfulness". He has promised to break with Mugabe's policies and says Zimbabwe is opening up to foreign investors.

"We have said time and again we will hold free and fair elections and we are fulfilling this commitment", he tweeted on Monday after his government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the European Union (EU) for the body to deploy an observer mission for the first time in 16 years.

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