A TOTAL of 23 candidates successfully filed their nomination papers last week enabling them to run in the presidential elections to be held on July 30, although it is self-evident the real race will be between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
Other political contestants in the race include former vice-president Joice Mujuru, MDC-T faction president Thokozani Khupe and former international trade minister Nkosana Moyo.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over power following a military coup in November 2017. He was born on September 15 1942 in Zvishavane, although those who know him say he is a few years older than thatas he was apparently born in the same year — 1938 — as the late liberation struggle hero Josiah Tomgogara.
He ventured into politics at a tender age, joining Zapu in 1962 at the age of 18. He was one of the founding members of the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) at its formation in 1963.
He received military training in Tanzania and Egypt.
He claims to have been part of the Chinese-trained “Crocodile Gang” that spearheaded attacks against colonial rule through engaging in acts of sabotage. This has been hotly disputed.
Together with the late Mathew Malowa, he reportedly blew up a train in Fort Victoria (Masvingo), leading to his arrest and sentencing to death in 1965.
The death sentence was subsequently lowered to 10 years on an age technicality, which he served in various prisons including Khami near Bulawayo.
Mnangagwa was released from prison and deported via Victoria Falls to Zambia in 1973 where his parents lived.
While in Zambia, he completed his law degree and was admitted to the bar of the High Court of Zambia in 1976.
In 1977, he was appointed special assistant to former president Robert Mugabe who was elected party leader at the Chimoio congress. Mnangagwa was elected member of the national executive of Zanu, which effectively made him a member of the central committee.
After Independence, he was appointed Minister of State Security, a position he held until 1988 when he was appointed Justice and Legal Affairs minister.
A lawyer by training, he also served as Speaker of the House of Assembly, Minister of Defence, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
He was appointed Vice-President after former Vice-President Joice Mujuru was expelled from Zanu PF in 2014. Mugabe briefly expelled him last November, before he bounced back as president through a coup.
Born on February 2 1978 at Silveira Mission in Masvingo, Chamisa took over the MDC-T presidency after former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s death in February through a palace coup which displaced elected co-vice-president Thokozani Khupe.
Chamisa was subsequently endorsed by the MDC-T structures and MDC Alliance as their presidential candidate. Since then, he has emerged as the strongest opposition candidate by support base and popular appeal.
Chamisa, one of the founders of MDC, began his political career as a Student Representative Council president at Harare Polytechnic between 1998 and 2000.
He was secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National Students Union between 1999 and 2000
Chamisa was MDC National Youth chairperson between 2000 and 2006 before being elected party spokesperson from 2005 to 2011. He was elevated to the post of MDC organising secretary between 2011 and 2014 after which he served as the party’s secretary for policy and research (2014-2015).
He was appointed MDC deputy president in 2016.
At the age of 25, Chamisa was elected as a legislator for Kuwadzana East and has served the constituency since then.
During the inclusive government he served as Minister of Information Communication Technology.
Also a lawyer by training, Chamisa is an advocate at The Chambers and is a registered legal practitioner of the Superior Courts of Zimbabwe.
Joice Mujuru, also known as Teurai Ropa, became the first female vice-president of Zimbabwe in 2004 after her late husband and one of the most decorated soldiers in the country Solomon pushed for her ascendancy. After her participation in the 1970s war, Joice became one of the youngest ministers under then prime minister Robert Mugabe’s administration. She was in charge of the portfolio of Sports, Youth and Recreation while studying towards her Ordinary Levels.
Having participated in the liberation war in her adolescence, Mujuru resumed her studies. Her political career as an opposition party leader began in 2014 when she, together with over 100 Zanu PF members, were purged for allegedly pushing for her ascendancy. At 18 years of age, Mujuru was the only female guerilla who trained in Lusaka, Zambia.
She is said to have downed a helicopter with a machine gun on 17 February 1974 after refusing to flee, a story which has been widely dismissed by Zanu PF officials like Chris Mutsvanga following her fallout with the ruling party.
After her unceremonious exit from Zanu PF, Mujuru, together with other axed ruling party officials such as Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo, formed a political outfit called Zimbabwe People First which again split less than a year after its formation due to power squabbles.
Mujuru was to later form another party, the National People’s Party, in March 2017.
A holder of a PhD from the University of Zimbabwe, Mujuru, one of the prominent female combatants during the liberation war, was widely seen as the Ellen Sirleaf of Zimbabwe. Sirleaf was the first female president in Africa after winning Liberian elections.
Nkosana Moyo is the founder and former executive chair of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS), an initiative he founded with the blessing of former South African President Nelson Mandela which is now under the patronage of his widow, Mrs Graca Machel.
Moyo is an Eisenhower Fellow and a World Economic Forum Global Leader of Tomorrow alumnus. He holds a PhD in Physics from Imperial College, University of London and an MBA from Cranfield School of Management, UK.
He was until August 2011, the vice-president and chief operating officer of the African Development Bank (AfDB). Before joining the AfDB, he worked in London at Actis Capital LLP as managing partner for the Africa business and also served at the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) as associate director.
Moyo served as Minister of Industry and International Trade under Mugabe. In his long association with the World Economic Forum, he has served as a co-chair of the Regional Agenda Council on the Future of Africa, chair of the Global Agenda Council on Population Growth, member of the GAC on Population Dividend and deputy chair of the Meta-Council on Inclusive Growth.
He has vast experience in industry and commerce as illustrated by his appointments to different board positions in several countries. He has served as a non-executive director on the following boards: Old Mutual PLC, Impala Platinum, Nisela Capital and the Africa Leadership Institute, Chair of Banque Commercial Du Rwanda, chair of DFCU Bank in Uganda, Diamond Bank in Nigeria, UAC in Nigeria, South African Airways and Kumba Iron Ore both in South Africa, Triangle Sugar and Border Timbers in Zimbabwe. Moyo was a founding trustee of the Investment Climate Facility. In the Tertiary Education sector, he has served as an advisory board member of the London Business School as well as the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Born in November 1963, Khupe is a well-known trade unionist.
She served as MDC-T vice-president from 2005 to February this year when a power struggle with MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa following former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s death resulted in a split in the party and a fight over the name.
She filed her papers as the MDC-T candidate.
Also a holder of a PhD from National University of Science and Technology, Khupe served as Deputy Prime Minister between 2009 and 2013.
She served in the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Railway Union in 1987. In 1991, she was elected secretary for the ZCTU Women’s Advisory Council and also a general council member of the ZCTU.
She is a founder of the MDC and was elected as a National Executive member responsible for transport, logistics and welfare.
She was elected a Member of Parliament for Makokoba in June 2000 and has represented the constituency since then.
Mnangagwa has promised to deliver annual economic growth rate of 6%, US$5 billion foreign direct investment inflow every year and US$10 billion of domestic investments, increasing industry’s capacity utilisation to 90% and eradicating corruption. This, he said, will go towards creating a middle income country by 2030.
He says he will capacitate the Zimbabwe Land Commission and maintain the issuance of 99-year leases which have been rejected by financial institutions as a form of collateral. He has also promised to rationalise farm sizes and eliminate multiple farm ownership.
Mnangagwa says he will amend the Mines and Minerals Act. He has proposed to implement the amended indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act as well as promote local content.
He has promised to deliver 1,5 million housing units in the next five years.
Mnangagwa pledges Treasury will allocate 15% of the budget to the healthcare sector in line with the Abuja Declaration.
Khupe has pledged to grow the economy at between 2% and 2,5% within the first two years of being in government and between 2,5 and 5% in the subsequent three years of her five-year term.
She says it will be based on promoting large-scale investment in domestic manufacturing and agriculture.
Khupe has promised to streamline and strengthen land tenure systems as well as ensure the provision of title deeds and bankable leases to commercial farmers to enable them to easily access financial support from financial institutions.
She says she will inject US$10 billion in the sector for capital expenditure.
Khupe has promised to ensure residential developments for at least 50% of the citizens on the housing waiting list in the first five years of governance.
She also says she will ensure an adequate budgetary allocation and disbursement to health according to the Abuja Declaration as well as a fully equipped and adequately staffed clinic in the country’s 1 958 wards.
Chamisa has promised to grow Zimbabwe’s economy at an annual rate of 10% with average inflation at 6% to US$46 billion by 2026, before peaking at US$100 billion in 2029. He has also proposed foreign direct investment and savings which both exceed 25% of gross domestic product.
Chamisa pledges to, among other outcomes, give resettled farmers title to land so that landowners have both land use and exchange value that they can use to access credit lines.
He has promised to promulgate a Diamond Act to guide policy on the precious mineral.
Chamisa is proposing a national housing policy that fully complies with Sustainable Development Goals and at least two million hectares of land to local authorities as part of resolving supply side constraints.
Chamisa proposes to establish a health insurance plan called Chamisa Care created through an act of parliament that will represent an integrated approach to healthcare delivery in Zimbabwe, by bringing both supply and demand side factors to health delivery.