Zimbabweans are voting in what many hope will be something the country has never seen before: a free and fair election, without the interference of former leader Robert Mugabe.
The landmark vote has been touted as the first time the African nation will hold an election without the former strongman in almost four decades, but although Mugabe is not on the ballot, his influence continues to be felt.
The 94-year-old Mugabe could not resist stepping back into the political arena on the eve of the vote.
In his first major political statement since being ousted from office last November, Mugabe said he would not vote for his former party Zanu-PF or the current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“I must say clearly I cannot vote for those who have tormented me. I can’t,” the ailing former revolutionary added. “I will make my case among the other 22 (out of the 23 candidates).”
On Monday afternoon Mugabe cast his ballot in Highfield, a suburb of Harare.
It is unclear whether or how Mugabe’s intervention on Sunday will influence voters.
He was forced to resign late last year after nearly four decades in power, following a crisis sparked by his decision to fire Mnangagwa, his then vice-president.
Now, Mnangagwa is president and head of the Mugabe’s former party Zanu-PF.
At stake in the landmark presidential election is a chance for Zimbabwe to finally shed its reputation as a pariah state, and move to a democracy free from international sanctions.
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