Zimbabwe Elections: I will not vote for ZANU-PF, says Robert Mugabe

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The southern African nation of Zimbabwe held its presidential election on Sunday - the first since Robert Mugabe was ousted from power following 37 years in charge.

The presence of Western election monitors for the first time in years is an indicator of a freer political environment, though concerns have been raised about state media bias toward the ruling party as well as a lack of transparency with the printing of ballot papers.

The doors of polling stations across Zimbabwe have now been officially shut and now election officers face the task of tallying each of the votes cast on Monday.

Under Zimbabwean law, results must be announced by August 4.

He had earlier told a cheering crowd as he cast his vote: "Victory is certain, the people have spoken", reported Reuters news agency.

It is expected that lots of people will have turned out to vote for the very first time and that younger voters will be very important.

When he sacked the vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa at the start of November 2017, this angered army leaders who saw it as an attempt to make his wife Grace the next president. "We have suffered enough", he says as as he walks off on to the winding dirt road.

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Mnangagwa is viewed as the frontrunner, though the latest opinion polls showed a tight race.

The country's founding president, Mr Mugabe was ousted in a coup past year after nearly four decades in power.

That will leave little scope to improve government services, rebuild crumbling transport links and meet a plethora of other election pledges. Long lines of voters were waiting outside some polling stations.

Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, who was ousted by the military in November, made a surprise intervention Sunday on the eve of key elections, calling for voters to throw his former party out of office.

"Zimbabwe's economy requires commercial bridge loans, donor support, relief on its huge dollar-denominated debt and, ultimately, an International Monetary Fund program", Exotix Capital said in an emailed research note.

Foreign observers have hailed the election as an opportunity for Zimbabwe to break with its repressive past.

More than 6,100 local and worldwide observers were accredited to scrutinize the vote. He offered no evidence to support his claim and there was no immediate comment from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

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Chamisa, a charismatic speaker who honed his craft in the courtroom and the pulpit, has won over young and unemployed voters who are frustrated with almost four decades of Zanu-PF rule.

Chamisa voted in Kuwadzana, a poor suburb in Harare where he has been an MP for the past 18 years.

"No one is complaining".

The MDC was able to access rural districts that were once no-go areas, but it's still skeptical the election will be fair.

According to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), close to 5.5 million Zimbabweans registered for the polls, 20,000 of whom are new voters.

Mnangagwa has insisted the election will be credible.

But Chamisa also spoke out saying: "I have nothing to do with what president Mugabe would want to say as a voter. We should all be part of it. God bless Zimbabwe".

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