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20:21, 21 July 2018

Zimbabwe&#039s President Mnangagwa appeals for racial unity ahead of election

Zimbabwe&#039s President Mnangagwa appeals for racial unity ahead of election

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called for racial unity ahead of landmark elections, telling white farmers their lands will not be taken.

Former President Robert Mugabe’s government supported the seizure of hundreds of white-owned farms which they saw as unfairly taken by settlers.

But Mr Mnangagwa, 75, told a crowd in Harare that the controversial policy was a factor of the past.

“We must cease to talk about who owns the farm in terms of colour,” he mentioned.

“It is criminal talking about that. A farmer, a black farmer, a white farmer, is a Zimbabwean farmer.”

Mr Mnangagwa’s move to ease the concerns of white voters comes ahead of historic elections on 30 July.

It will be the initial presidential poll considering that Mr Mugabe was ousted from power in November, bringing an finish to his 37-year rule.

White Zimbabweans have traditionally voted for opposition parties such as the Movement for Democratic Modify (MDC) as opposed to Mr Mnangagwa’s Zanu-PF party.

He told the crowd that his government was “racially blind” and acknowledged the failure of his predecessor’s controversial land reforms.

The farm seizures led to a crash in Zimbabwe’s agricultural output, an exodus of skilled white farmers and widespread unemployment among black farm labourers.

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There are a lot more than 120 political parties registered for this month’s elections, and there are likely to be 23 presidential candidates to select from on the ballot.

Mr Mnangagwa is favourite to win the poll, but analysts say he also has enemies – each for overthrowing his former mentor and for becoming a prior enforcer of Mr Mugabe’s government.

The principal opposition leader is Nelson Chamisa, 40, a lawyer and preacher who rose to the top of the MDC in February.

He is hugely common, specifically amongst the young and unemployed, and would turn out to be the country’s youngest ever president if elected.

The youth vote is expected to be key. More than half of Zimbabweans are now below 25 and about 43.5% of registered voters are beneath 35.

Published at Sat, 21 Jul 2018 16:09:06 +0000

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