Zimbabwe election: Lawyer says 40 civil society activists detained


Zimbabweans were called back to vote on Thursday in 40 wards affected by delays during Wednesday’s election and a prominent human rights lawyer alleged police were detaining about 40 civil society activists who had been monitoring the poll.

Both developments were likely to dent the credibility of the process in a country where the ruling Zanu-PF party has been in power for 43 years and previous elections have been marred by fraud and violence.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa was under pressure to deliver a clean election from foreign lenders and donors who have long shunned Zimbabwe due to Zanu-PF’s record of economic mismanagement, human rights abuses and vote-rigging.

Mnangagwa, 80, took over from longtime strongman Robert Mugabe when he was ousted in a military coup in 2017. Mnangagwa won a disputed election in 2018 and is seeking a second full term.

His re-election bid comes against a backdrop of economic misery, with runaway inflation, a currency that has lost 85% of its value just this year and a joblessness crisis, leaving many Zimbabweans dependent on US dollar remittances from their relatives in the diaspora.

Zimbabwean voting extended by extra day after ballot delays

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended the country’s general election by an extra day.

Mnangagwa’s main challenger is the same as in the previous election: lawyer and pastor Nelson Chamisa, 45, of the Citizens Coalition for Change, who says he will resist any attempts by Zanu-PF to manipulate the election to stay in power.

Roselyn Hanzi, director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said she had received information that police had detained about 40 members of two civil society groups late on Wednesday and raided their offices.

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