Zimbabwe opposition kicks off election campaign

After facing repeated bans on planned rallies ahead of the general polls scheduled for August 23, Zimbabwe’s largest opposition party successfully launched its election campaign on Sunday.

Southern African nation is preparing for yet another electoral contest between opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is known for his strong and authoritative leadership style.

Despite efforts by authorities to impede his rallies, Nelson Chamisa, the 45-year-old leader of the recently established Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party, pledged to secure victory in the upcoming elections.

“All we see is poverty, unemployment and millions going to the diaspora,” he told an enthusiastic crowd of supporters in Gweru, about 300 kilometres (186 miles) southwest of Harare.

“They can stop our meetings but they cannot stop people from loving me.”

Since its formation in early last year, the CCC says that over 90 of its rallies have been obstructed by authorities.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, who assumed power in 2017 following a military-led coup that ousted long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, currently leads the ruling ZANU-PF party.

ZANU-PF has held authority in Zimbabwe since the country’s independence in 1980.

Human rights activists have leveled accusations against Mnangagwa’s government, claiming that it has been suppressing dissent and neglecting to uphold fundamental rights.

Zimbabweans will vote in local, parliamentary, and presidential polls next month.

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