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Live: #ZimElections2018 – the first voting after Mugabe

Follow Bloomgist for Live update of the Zimbabwe 2018 elections, the first since Robert Mugabe was removed as president.

‘Let this be the morning for Zimbabwe’

Pastor Evan Mawarire, who was a hailed by many in Zimbabwe as a hero for being behind the #ThisFlag protests two years ago, has released a prayer for the country on election day.

We thank you for this moment, Lord, and what you have brought us through.

Let this be the morning for Zimbabwe.

That it begins with the righteous act of electing the right people for this country.”

Pastor Mawarire rose to prominence in 2016 for his campaign that denounced the government’s management of the economy.

He backed a stay-at-home strike earlier which was one of the largest anti-government protests in years. And he was denounced by then-President Robert Mugabe

‘Why Mugabe took a while to vote’

At least one person on Twitter has a tongue-in-cheek theory that Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe took a while to mark his ballot paper because he was busy making an important revision to the list of candidates:

Feeling free to vote

Polling stations have now been opened for more than seven hours.

Here on the BBC Africa Live page, we’ve heard from voters as well as some of the key players:

Since 1980 there has been no freedom or freedom of speech. So I want to express that through my vote.”

Sembre Machekra, voter

I want a better future for my niece. My whole family has come to vote today, my two elder sisters and our parents are here.”

Karen Willy, first-time voter

Let us be respectful, tolerant and love one another. Let us remember that no matter who we support, we are all brothers and sisters.” – President Emmerson Mnangagwa


The people are voting.. for freedom, democracy and a new Zimbabwe”

Nelson Chamisa, main opposition candidate

I think this is an exciting moment for Zimbabweans to change the course of their country through their votes. The long queues tell us that they are very enthusiastic about this opportunity to ensure they are part of this process.”

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, ex-President of Liberia, Election Observer

Observers praise ‘peaceful election’

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been keen to show that his country has turned a corner with this vote.

Whereas in the past, election observers from some parts of the world were not welcome, they’ve come in large numbers for this vote.

For the first time in 16 years, EU and US observers have been allowed to monitor the vote.

There are also observers from the African Union, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and Zimbabwean NGOs.

They’re all there to ensure the vote goes smoothly.

The BBC’s Fergal Keane met one observer who’s come home from exile:

Election commission: Voter turnout high

Voter turnout is high and 90% of polling stations opened on time, head of Zimbabwe’s electoral commission Priscilla Chigumba told journalists.

Ex-President Mugabe ‘votes for someone other than himself’

Photos are being shared on social media of former President Robert Mugabe casting his vote in Harare’s Highfields neighbourhood, alongside his wife Grace.

One journalist has tweeted that this is the “first time” in Mr Mugabe’s 94 years that he has voted for “someone other than himself for president”.


Mnangagwa: We are all brothers and sisters

Zimbabwe’s President Emerson Mnangagwa, one of 23 candidates on the presidential ballot, has tweeted a message of peace as the country goes to the polls.

Previous elections have been marred by violence and intimidation, but the government is keen to show the world that the first post-Mugabe poll will be different.

Mr Mnangagwa has called for tolerance saying: “We will sink or swim together.”

‘Voting for my grandchildren’

One of our reporters has travelled to a rural area an hour’s drive north of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

Despite more than 40% of the voters being under the age of 35, she has seen mostly older voters so far.

One told her that her vote was about her grandchildren:

Election colours

Zimbabweans have three votes today – for president, member of parliament and local councillor.


After marking the papers in the cardboard booths, voters then put the ballots in the three boxes:

  • Blue for president
  • Peach for MP
  • Yellow for local councillor.

One observer has tweeted this picture:

‘Tight race expected’


A long quiet queue formed before dawn at this polling station here in the capital, Harare, for an election fuelled by hope, and clouded by suspicion.

Many Zimbabweans believe that, with Robert Mugabe finally out of the picture, their impoverished nation has an opportunity to emerge from years of violence and economic chaos.

Opinion polls suggest a tight race between the governing Zanu-PF and an opposition alliance.

Zanu-PF insists that, now under new management, it is best placed to bring stability and foreign investment.

But the MDC Alliance suspects the vote may be rigged, as it has been before here.

It’s hoping a surge of support from younger Zimbabweans can overwhelm any challenges, and remove the party that has led this country for almost four decades.


Zimbabweans are now voting in presidential, parliamentary and local elections.

There are dozens of candidates and millions of registered voters.

Here are some of the key figures:

  • 23 candidates are on the presidential ballot
  • 55 parties are contesting the parliamentary vote
  • 5,635,706 people have re-registered to a new voters’ roll, which the MDC says is inaccurate and holds names of people who have died or are underage
  • 43.5% of registered voters are under 35
  • 10,985 polling stations
  • 16 years since EU and US observers were allowed to monitor elections.

‘Exciting moment for Zimbabwe’

Liberia’s former President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is one of the many international observers at watching the polls in Zimbabwe.

She’s been talking to the BBC Newsday’s Julian Keane at the David Livingstone Primary School in the capital, Harare.

I think this is an exciting moment for Zimbabweans to change the course of their country through their votes. The long queues tell us that they are very enthusiastic about this opportunity to ensure they are part of this process.

We want to see Zimbabwe stand out as another example of people having the right, without any kind of repression, given the full right to be able to vote.”

Listen to more of what she had to say:


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