Zimbabweans overjoyed as former President Mugabe casts vote in Highfield, Harare (WATCH VIDEO)

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Former president Robert Mugabe, 94, cast his vote in a Harare township of Highfield on Monday in Zimbabwe's first election that does not include his name on the ballot paper.

A frail Mugabe, accompanied by his wife, Grace, shuffled into the polling booth and spent several minutes filling in his ballot paper with the help of an assistant. A huge crowd gathered outside cheering.

Mugabe was removed last November in a de facto coup that brought his former ally Emmerson Mnangagwa to power.

Zimbabweans voted on Monday in the first election since the removal of former president Robert Mugabe, a watershed moment they hope will rid the country of its pariah status and spark a recovery in its failed economy.

The election pits 75-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a long-time Mugabe ally, against 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa, a lawyer and pastor vying to become Zimbabwe's youngest head of state.

Scores of chanting Zimbabweans gathered to see 94-year-old former leader Robert Mugabe vote, despite his troubled legacy.

"We miss him. I last saw him ages ago," says 22-year-old Everjoy Tafirei. Mugabe stepped down in November under military pressure after 37 years in power.

"I just want to see him face to face, even shake his hand as someone I have supported all my life. I still feel like he is my hero," says 34-year-old Jacob Mucheche.

Mugabe struggled to walk into the polling station but raised his fist before entering, acknowledging the crowd.

The warm reception was a stark contrast to the grim faces as Mugabe's successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, voted earlier.

WATCH VIDEO:

– Reuters


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