Kenyan-born law expert Shadreck Gutto, who was kicked out of Zimbabwe 30 years ago, says President Emmerson Mnangagwa will win next week’s elections despite a recent poll indicating that the race is too close to call.
Gutto was a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe from 1983 to 1988 when he was declared a persona non grata for unspecified “national security” reasons.
Gutto, together with other lecturers at the UZ such as Kempton Makamure and Jonathan Moyo, were strong critics of President Robert Mugabe especially his drive to establish a one-party state.
In an interview with Voice of America, Gutto who is now at the University of South Africa (UNISA), said Mnangagwa appears to be having an upper hand over his rivals as he has opened up democratic space for Zimbabweans, who were oppressed by Mugabe’s government.
He also said people conducting survey and polls had their own political interests so it was really a battle of ideas.
VOA said that prominent South African minister of religion, Bishop Paul Veryn, who opened up his church to Zimbabwean refugees, said the military and traditional leaders would be key in determining the outcome of Zimbabwe’s polls.
“I think one of the critical things that has emerged is the influence of the military that compromises the concept of free and fair elections obviously. And the second thing that’s gonna be critical is that there won’t be any kind of violence intimidation and forcing people economically even like the traditional leaders who have access to food for very hungry people and that gets used in manipulating voting. So, there need to be a huge vigilance particularly the nearer we get to the actual day of voting.”
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s spokesman Nkululeko Sibanda said Chamisa will emerge as the country’s president after the elections.
“You have seen already, how he has captured the hearts of the young and the old and how he is intellectually ready and prepared to deal with the challenges of our time.
“Remember, Zimbabwe must be able to progress and catch up with the rest of the world and I think that the leadership of President Chamisa provides that opportunity in a way that no other could,” he said.
Chamisa and his party’s youth leader Happymore Chidziva have promised to take to the streets if Chamisa is not declared the winner.
Elections are being held on 30 July but the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said it will announce the results on 4 August.
Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu says security forces will be on high alert to deal with any violence.
Listen to Shareck Gutto