→ What’s happening? Zimbabwe will hold elections on Aug. 23 to elect a president, members of parliament and councilors. A candidate must secure more than 50% of the votes to win. A run-off between the top two candidates will be held on Oct. 2 if there is no outright winner in the first round.
The elections are the second since the military ousted Robert Mugabe in 2017.
→ Who’s running? A total of 11 candidates are vying for the presidency. The two main candidates are President Emerson Mnangagwa of the ruling Zanu-PF party, who took power after Mugabe, and Nelson Chamisa of the the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), who narrowly lost to Mnangagwa in the 2018 election which was marred by violence and allegations of voting irregularities.
→ What are the biggest issues? Corruption, the smuggling of Zimbabwean minerals, human rights abuses and the country’s economic crisis — characterized by hyperinflation and a weaker Zimbabwe dollar increasingly passed over in favor of the U.S. dollar — are among the biggest election issues.
Mnangagwa, 80, is seeking a second term. He is banking on infrastructure development and international re-engagement to attract voters.
Chamisa, 45, has vowed to revive Zimbabwe’s economy through external debt, revamp the mining sector and end corruption. He has said he would also improve healthcare and basic education.
→ What’s at stake? Zimbabwe has been sidelined on the world stage for several years. A peaceful and credible election would help to unlock key international lines of credit and woo global investors.
→ How will this election be different from others? There have been fewer violent incidents in the build-up to this vote than previous elections. The election will also be different in that the euphoria, excitement and misgivings after the removal of Mugabe in a coup have now died down.
— Tawanda Karombo in Harare, Zimbabwe