Zimbabwe sets first post-Mugabe elections for July 30

Mr Nelson Chamisa is President of MDC-T

Mr Nelson Chamisa is President of MDC-T

FORMER British Minister of Africa and Labour Party politician, Lord Peter Hain has applauded President Emmerson Mnangagwa for tirelessly working in opening up Zimbabwe to the world politically and business wise.

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.

In a brief statement in an official government gazette, Mnangagwa said he had fixed July 30 "as the day of the election of the president, the election of members of the national assembly and election of councillors".

Absent from the long list of candidates vying for power for the first time since the country's independence 38 years ago is Mr Mugabe, 94, whose rule came to an end in a military takeover last November.

Chigumba said that prospective candidate were now free to collect and fill out nomination forms before the nomination court day.

A presidential run-off vote is set for September 8 if no candidate gets at least the 50 percent-plus-one vote required to win.

The vote will pit Mnangagwa against a clutch of opponents including 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa from the MDC. Many other smaller opposition parties are expected to stand in the elections.

Nicknamed "Crocodile" for his secretive and insular demeanor, Mnangagwa goes into the election with the advantage of incumbency, allowing him access to state resources for his campaign.

Following the high-profile spat, Zimbabwe barred the European Union and other Western observers from sending further missions to monitor polls in the country as Mugabe grew more and more defiant of foreign criticism up until his downfall.

Mnangagwa, who is working to improve Zimbabwe's global relations, has said the elections will be free and fair and has invited worldwide observers to come to Zimbabwe for the polls.

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