The country’s president says voting will take place on August 23 Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa. © Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced that the country will hold its presidential and parliamentary elections on August 23 as the southern African country grapples with economic instability and allegations of Western interference in its internal affairs.

October 2 has been set as the date for a potential presidential runoff vote, according to the president’s announcement on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Zimbabwe’s government summoned the US ambassador to Harare, Elaine French, over Washington’s alleged meddling in the upcoming elections following a series of tweets.

Mnangagwa, 80, has been the country’s president since 2017. He took over from Robert Mugabe, who ruled the country for over 30 years and is seeking a second term in office. His main rival is Nelson Chamisa, 45, who leads the newly formed Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

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Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s opposition parties are calling for access to the election process, an audit of the voter roll, and public media access, insisting this would help level the playing field ahead of the elections, local correspondent Keith Baptist reports.

Fadzai Mahere, the CCC spokesperson, told RT that “it’s an absolute scandal that the Zimbabwe electoral commission is yet to release the voter roll in a searchable, analyzable format required by the constitution.”