Timeline of events leading to Zimbabwe’s historic polls

July 25, 2018
| Report Focus News

Zimbabwe go polls on July 30 to elect a new president, parliament and local government leaders – the first poll without Robert Mugabe on the ballot paper.

The poll is a culmination of dramatic political events triggered on November 6, when then vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa (now president) was sacked by Mugabe. Here is a timeline of the events leading to this historic poll.

November 06, 2017 – Emmerson Mnangagwa sacked as Zimbabwe’s vice president as Zanu-PF’s internal power struggle comes to a head

November 08, 2017 – Emmerson Mnangagwa flees country but issues statement telling Zimbabweans he’ll return soon “to lead you”.

November 13, 2017 – Defence Forces Commander Constantino Chiwenga condemns the “purging” in the ruling Zanu-PF

November 15, 2017 – Army announces it has taken over the country to target “criminals” around Mugabe

November 18, 2017 – Tens of thousands of people take to the streets of Harare to demand Mugabe’s resignation

November 21, 2017 – As parliament begins impeachment proceedings, Mugabe resigns

November 24, 2017 – Emmerson Mnangagwa sworn in as new president, vows to usher in a “new beginning”

February 01, 2018 – New Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chaired by High Court Judge Priscilla Chigumba sworn in by Mnangagwa

February 14, 2018 – Morgan Tsvangirai, 65-year-old veteran leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) dies after a two-year-long struggle with cancer

March 01, 2018 – Nelson Chamisa confirmed new president of the MDC and party’s presidential candidate

May 30, 2018 – Mnangagwa announces July 30 as date for presidential, parliamentary and local government elections

June 06, 2018 – Advance team of EU election observer mission arrives in the country, the first in 15 years

June 14, 2018 – Twenty-three presidential candidates register to contest elections. They include MDC Vice President Thokozani Khupe, raising prospect of split opposition vote

June 23, 2018 – Grenade attack on a Mnangagwa rally in Bulawayo kills two and injures 49 others. Mnangagwa downplays the incident, says those trying to kill him will likely “go before me”

June 26, 2018 – 20 out of the country’s 23 presidential candidates sign a “peace pledge” to uphold peace before, during and after elections

July 11, 2018 – MDC holds second mass protest against ZEC and its alleged bias in favour of the ruling Zanu-PF. Demands transparency over voters’ roll and ballot paper printing

July 12, 2018 – ZEC under fire again as 4 000 police officers who will be on duty on polling day begin to cast their ballots in early “postal vote”. MDC claims officers in Bulawayo are forced to vote in front of commanding officers

July 17, 2018 – MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa says his party will write to SADC to request extraordinary summit to resolve dispute with ZEC

July 19, 2018 – The Elders, led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan arrive to meet main political players

July 30, 2018 – 5.6 million registered voters go to the polls. Each voter is registered to cast his or her ballot at one of 10 985 polling stations. Candidates from 55 political parties and more than 200 independent candidates will vie for 210 parliamentary constituencies. More than 1 900 council wards to be contested

August 04, 2018 – Results of the presidential ballot to be announced by this date, and no later

September 08, 2018 – Scheduled date for presidential run-off if none of the 23 presidential candidates achieves 50% of the vote, plus one vote