Zimbabwe voting extended by an extra day

By Neo Poho

Zimbabwe has extended voting in selected wards by a day after the late distribution of ballot papers delayed polling on Wednesday the 23rd of August 2023.

Voters in the southern African country waited for hours to vote on Wednesday, saying they were hungry for change from economic chaos but analysts were sceptical that the ruling ZANU-PF party would allow a credible election or any loosening of its stranglehold on power.

The presidential notice listed 40 wards it said were affected by the delays although the named areas make up less than 1% of the country's 12,374 wards.

They include 11 wards in the capital Harare, which has the highest number of registered voters.

According a notice from President Emmerson Mnangagwa announcing the extra day, the affected wards are in three of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces - opposition stronghold Harare, Mashonaland Central, where the ruling party is traditionally dominant, and Manicaland, which is a key battleground.

Mnangagwa is seeking re-election after a first term during which runaway inflation, currency shortages and sky-high unemployment left many Zimbabweans reliant on dollar remittances from relatives abroad to make ends meet.

The 80-year old president took over when longtime strongman Robert Mugabe was toppled in a 2017 military coup.

He faces 10 other candidates, including his main challenger, lawyer and pastor Nelson Chamisa, of the Citizens Coalition for Change.

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