Mnangagwa says Zimbabwe will hold its presidential vote in July

Zimbabwe will hold its presidential elections in July, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Saturday.

The vote will be the first in which Robert Mugabe will not participate in since the southern African country got its independence in 1980.

A military take-over forced Mugabe to resigned in November 2017, ending his 37-year reign. He was replaced by Emmerson Mnagagwa in an acting capacity until elections are held.

Mnangagwa earlier this year pledged to ensure the vote is held this year, saying that his government would ensure it was credibly conducted.

“As a nation, party and government, we are looking forward to very peaceful, transparent and harmonized elections in July this year,” he said to reporters after a meeting with visiting South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Mnangagwa also said he had invited all political parties in his country to hold dialogue on how to achieve a peaceful lection.

“I have already invited all political parties in Zimbabwe to a roundtable where we all commit ourselves to non-violence,” he said.

He also pledged to allow western observer missions into his country to monitor the process of the poll.

Mugabe had banned western observers from Zimbabwe’s previous elections, accusing them of bias in their reports.

Mnangagwa did not announce an official date, and will have to make it public in an official notice.