Zimbabweans vote in first election after Mugabe ouster

Zimbabwe elections

Zimbabweans on Monday voted in their first election without Robert Mugabe on the ballot, a contest that could bring global legitimacy and investment or signal more stagnation if the vote is seriously flawed.

Mugabe‚ however‚ denied reports that he was politically or financially supporting Chamisa‚ and added he had never met him before.

The voting turnout was high and, in a break from the past, peaceful.

"What is left now is only one push on Monday to vote - to vote for Zanu-PF so we have a thunderous victory", President Mnangagwa told his supporters who filled about half of the 60,000-capacity national stadium at his final rally on Saturday.

Mugabe, 94, ruled Zimbabwe from independence in 1980 until his resignation in November under military pressure and many people are anxious for change.

Zimbabwe has moved on from former president Mr Robert Mugabe's authoritarian rule and the nonagenarian must know that he does not hold sway over the majority of the people, war veterans and political analysts said yesterday.

Mr Mugabe further dismissed media claims that he has been funding Mr Chamisa's campaigns against the ruling party.

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.

Elections under Mugabe were often marred by intimidation, rigging and violence but the consensus is the build-up to this vote has been better than before, although Chamisa complained about a flawed voters' roll and opaque ballot paper printing.

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"It is clear to all that Chamisa has forged a deal with Mugabe, we can no longer believe that his intentions are to transform Zimbabwe and rebuild our nation", he said.

"The people wanted to vote, they were in a very good mood to vote in most cases", Elmar Brok, chief observer for the European Union's observer mission, told reporters in Harare.

Clause 7 (1)(b) of the Code of Conduct for political parties and candidates and other stakeholders prohibits political players and parties from undertaking any campaigns from midnight, 24 hours before the opening of polling stations. There will be a runoff on September 8 if no candidate wins more than half the votes. I am not leaving anything to chance.

THE late MDC-T and MDC Alliance leader Morgan Tsvangirai's family has endorsed the party's presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa's candidature in today's polls, saying the youthful opposition leader had the capacity to carry forward his predecessor's legacy.

Mnangagwa, who voted in his Kwekwe constituency in central Zimbabwe, said Mugabe had the right to express himself in the country's new "democratic space".

An elderly woman is assisted to cast her vote at a polling station in Harare, Zimbabwe. She said this while giving an update on voting now underway and the situation at various polling stations across the country. He had his finger inked and was assisted by his wife into the booth.

Speaking to journalists he said Mugabe who dumped his party live on camera, is free to engage with him any time.

Zimbabwe's electoral commission said voter turnout had averaged 75 percent, higher than in the last vote in 2013.