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Zimbabweans Vote as President Mugabe Seeks Seventh Term

Zimbabweans voted today in critical elections that will determine if longtime leader Robert Mugabe will remain at the helm of the African country or if one of his four challengers, including current Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, will take over.

The peaceful elections were the first since the formation of a coalition government between Mugabe's Zanu PF party and Tsvangirai's The Movement for Democratic Change. The coalition was formed following the last disputed and bloody elections in 2008.

Mugabe, who is 89 years old and has been in power for 33 years, has promised to give up power if he loses. Coming to rule in 1980, he is the only president the country has had since its independence from Britain.

President Robert Mugabe is the second oldest presidential candidate in Africa. Photo released to the public domain by the U.S. federal government.

President Robert Mugabe is the oldest leader in Africa. Photo released to the public domain by the U.S. federal government.

Mugabe ignored protests from his coalition partners and Zimbabwean citizens after he unilaterally declared 31 July, 2013 as the date the country will hold elections. The Constitutional Court ordered Robert Mugabe to hold elections by 31 July following a successful application by Jealousy Mawarire, director of the Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern Africa (CEDSA).

Zimbabwe election reports are trending on Twitter under the hashtags #ZimElections, #ZimbabweDecides, #ZimDecides and #ZimbabweElections.

Social entrepreneur Sir Nigel (@SirNige), emphasised the importance of traditional media during the elections:

Realist Diva (@Da4RealDiva) in Bulawayo wrote:

Bonny K'ochieng (@orengbony) wrote that free and fair voting is the most important:

Southern Eye (@SoutherneyeZim), a local newspaper, reported:

Crisis Coalition, a conglomeration of more than 350 civic society organisations in Zimbabwe, asked voters to dispel the myth that votes do not count:

Idriss Ali Nassah (@mynassah) shared a touching story of a dedicated voter:

Gideon S.F. Moyo (@Giddo90), a student, noted that committed voters were prepared to queue as long as it takes:

However, Mike Madoda (@mikemadoda) wrote the following about one polling station in the capital, Harare:

African Election (@Africanelection), a project that empowers reporters and citizen with new media tools for election coverage and monitoring, expressed fear that voters in some areas will be frustrated by a shortage of polling stations:

Hopewell C (@hopewellc) complained about the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation:

Zweli on the Cusp (@Zwellibanzy) explained the fear that drives some voters to want to use their own pens:

Joseph Madondo (@jmad263) advised voters:

Zimbabwean journalist Jessie Dendere (@jessiedendere) was critical of Tsvangirai's faction MDCT:

Fore more coverage, please visit Vote Watch 263, a Ushahidi-based citizen platform for election analysis.

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