Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised that the upcoming general elections expected later this year will be free and fair. Mnangagwa made this announcement during his speech to mark the country’s 43rd anniversary of independence from British colonial rule.
The President won the country’s disputed 2018 elections that his main rival, Nelson Chamisa, insists were rigged. The latest polls are expected to take place in July or August and come at a time when his ruling ZANU-PF party stands accused of cracking down on opposition voices.
The ruling ZANU-PF party in Zimbabwe has been accused of cracking down on opposition voices, causing tension ahead of the upcoming polls. Amnesty International has described the situation as a rapidly shrinking civic space, with freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly coming under increasing attack.
The authorities have refused to give clearance for some of the main opposition party’s rallies, arresting and convicting peaceful protesters, and using unnecessary and excessive force to stop protests. This has caused concerns among Zimbabweans and has raised questions about whether the elections will be free and fair.
President Mnangagwa faces widespread discontent as he struggles to ease entrenched poverty, end chronic power cuts, and crippling unemployment. Analysts say that the 2023 election is unlikely to bring relief to Zimbabweans from the economic crisis that has been exacerbated by hyperinflation.
The country has been facing a deepening of authoritarian rule, and the upcoming elections are expected to be tense. It remains to be seen whether the government can address the economic crisis and create an environment that is conducive to free and fair elections.