Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced that the country will hold free and fair elections in 5 months – the first to take place after the reign of Robert Mugabe. The President stated that he has no doubt the vote will go ahead peacefully, and that he wants Zimbabwe to engage the world as a qualified democratic state.
Opposition party, the MDC, has called for reforms before a vote takes place. The party has requested that the Electoral Act be aligned with the constitution, which would allow for postal voting and the appointment of an independent electoral commission. The MDC has also requested equal access to a register of voters, which the party was denied access to during the 2013 elections, leading it to boycott subsequent by-elections.
Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has fired 11 allies of former leader Robert Mugabe from parliament, stating that the former members no longer represented their interests. During the de facto military coup that brought an end to Mugabe’s leadership, many of the former President’s political allies were either arrested during a series of raids, or fled to neighboring countries.
The Zimbabwe government is also due to set up 10 specialized courts to try cases of corruption. Chief Justice Luke Malaba said a court with specially-trained staff would be set up in each of the 10 provinces, starting with Harare and Bulawayo. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has given corrupt officials until the end of next month to return money illegally stashed abroad. The new President has promised to clamp down on the corruption that flourished under his predecessor.
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