By Staff Reporter & Agencies
ZIMBABWE will go to the polls on July 30, president Emmerson Mnangagwa has revealed.
The Zanu PF leader confirmed the election date in Wednesday’s Government Gazette.
According to the notice, elections for president, members of parliament and councillors will be held on Monday July 31.
Should a presidential run-off be required, it would be held by no later than September 8.
The election will be the first since last November’s ouster of veteran leader Robert Mugabe who had ruled the country since independence in 1980.
The now-94-year-old was toppled by a military which he has since described as a coup.
Successor Mnangagwa will be challenged by main opposition Nelson Chamisa and former vice president Joice Mujuru among others.
More than 100 political parties will contest the vote, according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Mnangagwa has pledged a “free, fair and credible” election.
He has invited observers from Western countries for the first time since 2002 as part of efforts to re-engage with the international community after decades of isolation and sanctions.
The European Union signed an agreement earlier this week with Zimbabwe in preparation for deploying election observers nationwide.
Past elections in the economically troubled southern African country have been characterized by allegations of fraud and military-led violence. Mnangagwa has repeatedly said this year’s elections will be different.
So far, opposition parties have been campaigning without the previous threats of violence and arrest.
More than 5 million of Zimbabwe’s 13 million people have registered to vote.
Zimbabweans working and living outside the country will be unable to vote unless they travel back home for the polls after a court ruling against postal votes.
Millions of Zimbabweans reside outside the country after many fled economic and political problems that beset this once-prosperous country, although there are no official figures of Zimbabweans in the diaspora.