Zimbabweans vote on Monday in the first election since the removal of former President Robert Mugabe, a watershed moment they hope will spark a recovery in its failed economy.
More than five million have registered to vote, in the first poll since 1980 without Mugabe on the ballot, to choose their next president and members of parliament.
Twenty-three candidates, 19 men and four women, are running for the presidency – all for the first time. The figure marks the highest number of presidential hopefuls since the end of white minority rule in the country of 16 million people.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa (75), of the ruling ZANU-PF party, and Nelson Chamisa (40), of the opposition MDC Alliance, are seen as the top two contenders.
Mugabe, who ruled the landlocked southern African country for nearly four decades, was forced to resign in November 2017 following an intervention by the army. Speaking at a press conference on the eve of the crucial elections, Mugabe said he would vote for the youthful Chamisa.
Mugabe, who was forced out of office last November by Mnangagwa with the help of the military, said he could not trust his successor, whom he has always accused of betraying him.
A presidential runoff will be held on September 8 if none of the candidates secures more than 50 percent of the votes.
Official results are expected to be released by Saturday.
Foreign observers are allowed to witness the polls, the first time since 2002.
Adira Kallo with agency report