Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s military unexpectedly ousted President Robert Mugabe in late 2017, nearly four decades after he took power. Debilitating internal factionalism within the ruling Zanu-PF party over succession to Mugabe has culminated in the elevation of Emmerson Mnangagwa to the helm. He has promised to break with the past as he endeavours to navigate a much needed economic recovery. Prospects for promoting a new more inclusive political culture are less certain. Credible elections in 2018 could be a vital stepping stone toward a peaceful democratic transition, but they also pose a challenge to Zimbabwe’s weak institutions. Through research and analysis, Crisis Group sheds light on obstacles to a smooth, credible electoral process leading up to 2018. We help relevant actors nationally and internationally to buttress the likelihood of peaceful elections and democratic transition.

CrisisWatch Zimbabwe

Unchanged Situation

Ahead of 2023 general elections, relations between govt and opposition remained tense.

Authorities continued to stifle dissent. About 30 alleged supporters of ruling ZANU-PF party 8 Nov disrupted press conference by main opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) in capital Harare despite police presence, seizing party banners and other materials. National housing and social amenities minister and ZANU-PF’s Mashonaland East provincial chairperson, Daniel Garwe, 12 Nov told supporters that “courts, military and police belong to ZANU-PF” and that party was preparing whip to “fight back” against those who insult President Mnangagwa. Meanwhile, Magistrates Court in Harare 9 Nov granted bail to CCC parliament member Godfrey Sithole, who was arrested in June alongside his colleague Job Sikhala on charges of inciting violence following killing of CCC activist Moreblessing Ali; Sikhala remained in custody after ninth attempt to secure bail late Nov failed. In move widely interpreted as clampdown on govt critics, govt 22 Nov adopted new legislation that will criminalise behaviour deemed as undermining “national interests and sovereignty”.

Opposition pressured authorities to create conditions for competitive polls. Opposition parties, including CCC, mid-Nov urged govt to expedite establishment of Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission to investigate acts of misconduct by members of security forces. Two civil society organisations – Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Election Resource Centre – 6 Nov announced legal complaint against electoral commission over $187,000 fee that commission requires to provide voters list.

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In The News

19 Sep 2020
Zanu PF is hunkered down in its traditional deny, avoid, blame, attack posture. The Zimbabwe Independent

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
25 Jul 2020
Prominent Zimbabwean journalist Chin'ono has been extremely active in exposing corruption, but with that exposure has come a very hard-hitting narrative about the failure... Al Jazeera

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
29 Jan 2019
[Zimbabwe's] reform agenda is being opposed by hardline elements within Zanu-PF and the state. Bloomberg

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
21 Nov 2018
Ordinary Zimbabweans are paying for the excesses of a venal predatory elite not being held to account. Washington Post

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
3 Aug 2018
The ball is in Mnangagwa’s court. His legitimacy will now have to come from statesmanship and transparency, which means publicly addressing his relationship with the secu... Washington Post

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa
30 Jul 2018
The elections are an unprecedented opportunity for Zimbabweans to choose who they believe can deliver economic recovery after decades of violent, predatory and authoritar... Newsweek

Piers Pigou

Senior Consultant, Southern Africa

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