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SADC observers concerned over legitimacy of Zimbabwe election process

Nelson Chamisa’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) alliance has raised concerns over the security around the ballot papers and the design ahead of the 30 July poll.

Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC) supporters hold MDC and Zimbabwe flags as they gather to listen to their leader Nelson Chamisa during an election campaign rally on 21 July, 2018 at White City stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabweans will head to the polls exactly in under six days from now, in what will be the first general election since the removal of President Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwe's longtime leader gave in to demands for him to step down last November after days of protests led by the country's military.

But the build-up to next week's election has not been without incident. The most recent development is the Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer mission saying it won’t endorse the election following several complaints relating to the democratic process.

Nelson Chamisa’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) alliance has raised concerns over the security around the ballot papers and the design ahead of the 30 July poll.

Added to this, after meeting with political parties and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission last week, SADC observer mission says its concerned about the legitimacy of the process.

At the same time, there are fears of violence and intimidation following earlier reports of the intimidation of civilians by army personnel and the recent stadium blast at a Zanu-PF campaign rally in Bulawayo which claimed two lives.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reiterated his promise of a free and fair election which he made at his inauguration following the military supported removal of Mugabe

All eyes are now on Zimbabwe ahead of what promises to be a gripping race for the highest office in the land.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)