Top Africa stories: Zimbabwe election, Mugabe votes

Polls close in historic Zimbabwe election

Polls have closed in Zimbabwe's historic election, the first since the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe.

Millions have voted, turnout was high and the day was free of the violence that marked previous elections.

The 75-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former Mugabe confidante, is in a close race with main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa. The 40-year-old Chamisa has called the election a choice between Zimbabwe's past and future.

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Counting begins in pivotal Zimbabwe election

Polling stations in Zimbabwe closed on Monday after the country's first election without former leader Robert Mugabe on the ballot, and election officers prepared to start counting.

Zimbabwe's electoral commission has said it will announce final results within five days.

Earlier, the main opposition leader in this southern African nation said reports of voting delays were a "deliberate attempt" to undermine his supporters. The allegations by Nelson Chamisa, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change party, intensified concerns about management of the election and the prospect of a dispute over its outcome.

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Zimbabwe goes to the polls

Zimbabwe goes to the polls on Monday in its first election since authoritarian leader Robert Mugabe was ousted last year, with alleged ballot fraud and the likelihood of a disputed result clouding voting day.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe's former ally in the ruling Zanu-PF party, faces opposition leader Nelson Chamisa of the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) in a historic vote for the southern African nation.

Mugabe, 94, who was ousted by the military in November, made a surprise intervention on the eve of the elections, calling for voters to throw Zanu-PF out of office.

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Zimbabwe's former leader Mugabe votes, slowly

Zimbabwe's former leader Robert Mugabe has voted in the country's first election without his name on the ballot.

Struggling to walk, the 94-year-old Mugabe raised his fist for chanting supporters. Then he slowly made his way into the polling centre and had his finger inked, and was assisted by his wife into the booth.

Mugabe, who stepped down in November under military pressure, emerged after months of silence on Sunday to declare that he would not be voting for the ruling party he long controlled.

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PICS: Counting by candlelight and lanterns underway in Zimbabwe's historic vote

The last of Zimbabwe's voters have cast their ballots by the light of lanterns, candles and mobile phones as counting is underway in a historic election.

The final results are expected within five days in the first election since the departure of former leader Robert Mugabe, who led for 37 years but resigned in November under military pressure.

See picture below

Voting was peaceful in a break from the violence in past elections.

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Zim opposition stalwart predicts Mnangagwa victory – report

Zimbabwean top opposition lawmaker Eddie Cross has reportedly predicted a massive victory for Emmerson Mnangagwa in the country’s most contested plebiscite on Monday.

According to New Zimbabwe.com, the outgoing Movement for Democratic change lawmaker also praised his party boss Nelson Chamisa for putting up a good fight.

Cross, however, said that the country's ruling Zanu-PF presidential candidate was likely going to emerge victorious after the polls as he has revived the country’s hopes.

"We will see on Monday, but I think Emmerson will get majority. I think Chamisa has done a good fight, but he is not going to win majority," Cross was quoted as saying.

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Zimbabwe opposition cries foul in vote, pointing to delays

Zimbabwe's main opposition leader on Monday said reported voting delays were a "deliberate attempt" to undermine his supporters in the country's first election without former leader Robert Mugabe on the ballot.

The allegations by Nelson Chamisa, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change party, intensified concerns about management of the election and the prospect of a dispute over its outcome.

The voting turnout was high and, in a break from the past, peaceful.

Nelson Chamisa

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Zimbabwe leader Mnangagwa praises 'beautiful' democracy

Zimbabwe's president is praising "a beautiful expression of freedom & democracy" after polls have closed in a historic election.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa says on Twitter that millions have voted in "mutual respect & peace." He urges the country to wait patiently for the electoral commission to announce the results.

See tweets below

Final results are expected within five days. Mnangagwa says that "no matter which way we voted, we are all brothers and sisters."

The election is the first since longtime leader Robert Mugabe stepped down in November under military pressure after 37 years in power. Past votes were marked by violence and irregularities.

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