The FT's Joe Sinclair meets voters in Bulawayo and rural areas of Matabeleland, where the ruling Zanu-PF party has a tainted history, accused of persecuting and marginalising the minority Ndebele people.
An unexpected sight in this rural corner of Zimbabwe. That's because this is Matabeleland, home of the minority Ndbele people. And these are election campaigners for Zanu-PF. The ruling party has a tainted history here, accused of persecuting the people.
But there are pockets of support in the region for President Emmerson Mnangagwa - those who believe he can bring change to a country suffering economic collapse.
His excellency, Emmerson Mnangagwa -
The big promise is to open Zimbabwe for business. But the local promises here are to provide each household with 50 kilogrammes of maize, to build dams and new schools, and fertiliser for farming.
Mnangagwa succeeded Robert Mugabe in November on the back of a military takeover. Some question why he didn't do more to develop the country during 37 years as a loyal Mugabe supporter.
He wasn't at the top. Now, he's at the top. So it's clear that him not delivering in that time, there was something hindering up there. So now that man is out, and he's in power. So we are saying, let's give him a chance.
One reason the people of Matabeleland are suspicious of Mnangagwa is the Gukurahundi massacres. He was security minister during post-independence conflict when thousands of Ndbele civilians were killed. Evelyn Ncube's mother, Elice, was a free-spirited mother of , 12. In 1983 soldiers from the North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade shoved her to the ground so hard that she was left permanently paralysed.
She died on June 12 this year, aged 93, with no compensation and no apology.
And this is Robert Mugabe, not -
Mbuso Fuzwayo campaigns for justice for the victims.
We will not stop pushing forward for the recognisation of the genocide. And in pushing for the equality of the citizens, this marginalisation of Matabeleland one day will be something of the past.
Mnangagwa is making a big push in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo. He clearly has more campaign resources than his rival, the MDC Alliance's Nelson Chamisa. But the feeling of marginalisation here is strong. Many people feel they've missed out on the kind of investment that's gone to the Shona majority in Mashonaland. Bank queues are a common sight throughout the country. Cash controls mean people are only allowed to withdraw 50 US dollars a week. But in Matabeleland, where industries have closed and jobs have disappeared, it's another indignity to suffer.
Especially Bulawayo citizens are quite angry because it's been unfair what they are doing to Matabeleland these past decades. Because hope if we continue with what we are doing currently we are always at a disadvantage in Matabeleland.
People here also still fear the Zanu-PF regime. While some say they're more free to talk openly since Mugabe's departure, others won't risk talking about the new president.
I would try and run away from that question because it's more political and politics is not a really nice thing to talk about in this country.
Back in the rural areas, 30 kilometres from the nearest tarmac road, party promises can also feel remote.
Alice says business is bad. The customers are mainly unemployed, and there's a struggle to find hard cash. The change in president has made no impact.
Zimbabweans go to the polls on Monday. All parties are campaigning for change, but the people can't live on promises alone.