Voters throughout Zimbabwe went to the polls Monday, July 30, to participate in a closely-contested presidential election. Voting will continue through 19:00 (local time) on Monday, July 30, and it is unclear when results will be released. Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) told reporters on Friday, July 27, that his party will launch protests over election irregularities if incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ZANU-PF party wins the July 30 election. According to EU election officials, voting has been smooth in some areas but "totally disorganized" in others. The election has been relatively peaceful to date, but the possibility exists for widespread protests and electoral violence when official results are released.
After presidential and parliamentary elections on July 30, a presidential runoff election, if required, will be held on September 8. The elections are the first in Zimbabwe since Robert Mugabe stepped down as president in November 2017 after 37 years in power. According to the MDC, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) refused to allow the party access to voter rolls and the name of the company that will print ballot papers. Opposition leaders have said the elections will not be credible if they do not know how many ballots are being printed and who is possession of them. Several pre-election MDC protests were banned by police officials.
Individuals in Zimbabwe, particularly in Harare, are advised to avoid large public gatherings, even those that seem peaceful, and monitor local developments.
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