Jul 30, 2018

What to know about Zimbabwe's landmark election

Millions of Zimbabweans are voting today in the first election since 1980 without former president Robert Mugabe on the ballot.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe's former vice-president whose nickname is "the crocodile", is now president and the ruling ZANU-PF party's presidential candidate. Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa, head of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, are widely seen as the top challengers.

The big picture...

  • There are 23 candidates vying for the presidency, while 55 parties are running in parliamentary elections. 
  • Campaigning has been relatively peaceful but security concerns were raised after an explosion struck an election rally by the ruling ZANU-PF party in the second city of Bulawayo, killing at least two people and wounding dozens.
  • Unlike previous votes, election observers from the European Union and the Commonwealth group have been allowed into Zimbabwe this time.

The front-runners...

  • A presidential candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round to secure an outright victory. The latest polls show a close race between 75-year-old Mnangagwa and 40-year-old Chamisa, making a runoff on September 8 likely.
  • The MDC Alliance has accused the country's electoral commission of favouring the ZANU-PF in its design of the two-column ballot. Mnangagwa appears at the top of the second column while Chamisa appears second on the first column.
  • Mugabe broke with the party he led for three decades yesterday, saying that he "cannot vote for those who have tormented me."

The top issue...

  • The issues of the economy and job creation have topped political debate in the lead-up to the vote, with all presidential hopefuls promising to fix the country's financial situation, which has been in meltdown for the past two decades.
  • At least 60 percent of the 5.6 million registered voters are under the age of 40, and experts expect this to play a key role in the closely contested election.
  • Go deeper: Zimbabwe's youth cautiously optimistic election will bring change.

Go deeper

Gov. Tim Walz to mobilize Minnesota's full National Guard

Photo: Steel Brooks/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced on Saturday he is activating the full National Guard to respond to street violence in Minneapolis that broke out during protests of a police encounter that left a black man, George Floyd, dead.

Why it matters: This is the first time the state has activated the full National Guard since World War II. The Minnesota National Guard tweeted, "We are "all-in" to restore order and maintain and keep the peace in Minnesota." There are already around 700 National Guard troops in the city, and the order could bring another 1,000, The Star Tribune writes.

Go deeper...The aftermath of George Floyd's death: Everything you need to know

Updated 21 mins ago - Science

Live updates: SpaceX attempts to launch NASA astronauts Saturday

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad. Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

At 3:22 p.m. ET today, SpaceX is expected to launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station for the first time.

Why it matters: The liftoff — should it go off without a hitch — will be the first time a private company has launched people to orbit. It will also bring crewed launches back to the U.S. for the first time in nine years, since the end of the space shuttle program.

Follow along below for live updates throughout the day...

In photos: We've seen images like the protests in Minneapolis before

Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP/MPI/Getty Images

The photos of protests around the country following the death of George Floyd during an encounter with Minneapolis police are hauntingly familiar. We’ve seen them many times before, going back decades.

Why it matters: "What is also unmistakable in the bitter protests in Minneapolis and around the country is the sense that the state is either complicit or incapable of effecting substantive change," Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor of African-American studies at Princeton University writes in the New York Times. The images that follow make all too clear how little has changed since the modern Civil Rights Movement began in the 1950s.