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

Harassment of opposition supporters continued months away from general elections, and constituency delimitation report faced fierce criticism.

Main opposition party members faced violence and arrests. Mob 7 Jan assaulted members of main opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) during party meeting in Murehwa town, north east of capital Harare, reportedly leaving seven injured; CCC accused ruling ZANU-PF party of unleashing vigilantes ahead of general elections slated for mid-2023. Police 14 Jan stormed CCC legislator’s home in Budiriro, Harare suburb, detained 26 party activists over accusations of holding illegal gathering. NGO Amnesty International 17 Jan called for their immediate release, condemned “escalating crackdown against freedom of association and assembly” in run-up to elections. All activists granted bail 27 Jan.

Report on delimitation of constituencies criticised across party lines. Govt 6 Jan presented electoral commission’s preliminary report on delimitation of constituencies to both houses of parliament. Ad-hoc committee of 13 legislators charged with examining report 13 Jan criticised document, saying electoral commission must use final census results and ensure equal number of voters in all constituencies as provided for by constitution. NGO Zimbabwe Democracy Institute 13 Jan said preliminary report showed capture of electoral system “through gerrymandering, calculated to disorient the main opposition and benefit the ruling party”, and civil society platform Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition around 20 Jan said delimitation process fraught with irregularities and part of broader scheme to rig elections in favour of ZANU-PF. Meanwhile, opposition People’s Unity Party late Jan vowed to hold nationwide demonstrations on 25 March in attempt to stop elections.

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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

Former 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

Former 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

Former 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

Former 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

Former 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

Former Senior Consultant, Southern Africa

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