President Emmerson Mnangagwa leads Zanu PF.

HARARE– Zimbabwe’s election season has started in earnest after the ruling ZANU-PF set the date for its primary elections to choose its candidates in the forthcoming harmonized elections.

ZANU-PF leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday told the party’s Politburo, the party’s highest decision-making body outside congress, that the primary elections would be held on March 18, the Herald newspaper reported Friday.

Prospective candidates have a little over a week to campaign for chances to contest in parliamentary and local authority elections.

On his part, Mnangagwa has been retained as the party’s sole candidate to contest in the presidential election, where he is expected to face candidates such as Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens’ Coalition for Change and Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC-T.

“We will have our internal primary elections from next week,” Mnangagwa said.

“All provinces are directed to constitute themselves in readiness for responsive grassroots-based mobilization campaigns ahead of harmonized general elections.”

ZANU-PF is eyeing 5 million votes in the August elections, as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission begins a 10-day mobile voter registration exercise on Sunday before it closes the voters’ roll for the polls.

As of July 2022, Zimbabwe had just over 5.8 million registered voters.

Some names have since been removed from the roll as a result of deaths, while new names have been included as some youths attain the age of majority. – Xinhua