Zimbabwe declares election day a public holiday

Harare- The Zimbabwean government has reportedly declared July 30 a public holiday “to enable the electorate to vote without hassles from work-related commitments”.

Election day does fall on a weekday, on Monday.

According to Herald newspaper report the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Commissioner Qhubani Moyo said, “The spirit behind declaring the election day a public holiday is to enable the people to prepare for polling considering that this election is polling station-based. This means that some people might need to travel to their polling stations.

“It is also a way of encouraging all the people to cast their votes. If some of the people are committed on other things such as work they may fail to participate in this important exercise.”

According to official figures about 5.5 million registered voters are expected to cast they ballots.

Both set of observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU) have sent observer teams to the election. AFP reported that this is the first since long-time ruler Robert Mugabe was removed late in 2017.

Under Mugabe elections were marred by fraud and intimidation.

On Wednesday reports circulated that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his rival, opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, are likely to meet face-to-face for the first time before the elections.

New Zimbabwe.com is reporting that this meeting could happen if plans by a local church group to bring together all contesting presidential candidates is conducive.

The Catholic Church-run Silveira House in partnership with other churches have indicated that they are organising a multi-party gathering for all the 23 presidential candidates.

According to the church it is to preserve peace and “inculcating a sense of political tolerance” ahead of the highly anticpated elections.

And a NewsDay report said that candidates can address the gathering and outline their campaign agendas

News Day quoted Chirombo as saying, “Our role is to promote peace and the message to all political players is to desist from violence.”

Photo Credit- ZwNews.com

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