It is an iconic day in both the Southern-African country and the international community, as the country of Zimbabwe heads towards the dawn of a new day. In today’s election, Robert Mugabe, the infamous former president of the country for almost 40 years is not on the ballot. Zimbabweans will be electing a new president, new MPs as well as new local councillors. The election is seen by many as a two horse race between Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ZANU PF party, and Nelson Chamisa of the MDC party.
Robert Mugabe’s term as one of the longest serving world leaders came to a dramatic end in November as the country’s military and Mugabe’s political party forced his resignation in what has been labeled my many Zimbabweans as the “not-a-coup, coup.”
His rule was one like the world has never seen, first coming into power after leading the Zimbabweans in the war for independence over the white-minority rule of the Rhodesians in 1980 and guiding Zimbabwe to early economic prosperity through the 80s and early 90s. He was seen as beacon of hope for Africa and was well respected by many world leaders.
Things in Zimbabwe began to turn south as Mugabe turned into a ruthless dictator; consolidating power, rigging elections, committing violence against his political opponents and their supporters, and enforcing strict laws on Zimbabwe that lead to the country’s economic downfall as a result of hyperinflation. Zimbabwe is yet to recover from the effects of his dictatorial rule, as many Zimbabweans continue to live in poverty.
Now, when Zimbabweans take to the polls, they will hope that the departure of Mugabe will lead to a new age in the young country’s history; one of true democracy, freedom and economic growth. Election observers from the European Union are in Zimbabwe right now to ensure the free and fair election that was promised by the incumbent president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Results are expected by the end of the week at the latest.