Few had expected Zimbabwe’s main opposition group, the MDC Alliance, to pull out of Monday’s general election, despite speculation to the contrary.
There is so much at stake – the first opportunity for its presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa, to test his strength.
He emerged as the main opposition candidate following the death of Morgan Tsvangirai in February.
At the press conference Mr Chamisa held in the capital, Harare, he hinted at differences within the seven-party opposition alliance.
Mr Chamisa told journalists that if the decision had been his alone, he would have opted to boycott the elections.
“Who am I to say no to the will of the people,” he added.
The opposition is in a deadlock with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission over the administration of the elections.
They have a raft of concerns – the printing and storage of the ballot papers, the ink that will used to confirm voting, the number of polling stations, the inconsistencies in the voter’s roll and the vetting of personnel.
They are also concerned about intimidation in the rural areas, and the alleged use of food aid to get people to vote for President Mnangagwa and the ruling Zanu-PF party.
The election commission says it is working within the law, and is confident of delivering a credible election.
The MDC Alliance is now pinning its hopes on the intervention of the regional body, the Southern African Development Community.
But though most observers have raised concerns they seem reluctant to pass outright judgement until after the elections.