Political analysts have said that MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe and National People’s Party leader Joice Mujuru will probably determine who wins the 2018 elections between Nelson Chamisa and President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The analysts also dismissed the majority of the 23 presidential candidates saying that the election will be between Chamisa and Mnangagwa. Professor of World Politics at the London School of African and Oriental Studies Stephen Chan said,
Although these will likely not impact the forthcoming elections, they may be a sign of things to come in elections of the future. However, I do see it as a straight fight between Mnangagwa and Chamisa and their respective parties…I think voters will be able to tell who is who on the ballot sheet. I saw peasants voting on hugely complicated ballot papers in rural South Sudan. People know. They don’t need to be patronised. However, Khupe may prove to be as much a kingmaker as Mujuru in the parliamentary stakes. I don’t think there will be any kingmaker in the presidential stakes.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure added
You may have as many candidates as 23, but the electorate will choose between Mnangagwa and Chamisa. Others are just accompanying these two major presidential candidates…In the unlikely event of a run-off, then there will be a lot of realignments, and it’s not clear at this stage who will give their vote to Mnangagwa or Chamisa . . . for instance Khupe might decide to go for ED.
Another analyst, Maxwell Saungweme, added
Mujuru and Khupe are likely to be the kingmakers. As I said before, their combined numbers could do to Chamisa what Makoni did to Tsvangirai in 2008.
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