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Tensions Rise Ahead of Zimbabwe’s Elections
Tensions Rise Ahead of Zimbabwe’s Elections
Report 202 / Africa

津巴布韦:选举形势

执行摘要

随着全球政治协议(Global Political Agreement, GPA)接近尾声,持续违反协议,改革缺失,机构公信力有限,以及拒绝联合国选举需求评估团的介入,这些情况都凸显出,尽管2013年3月津巴布韦通过了新的宪法,但仍然还不具备条件来举行和平可信的选举。总统罗伯特·穆加贝被迫放弃在6月举行投票,但是他的政党仍然急切地想要加快进程,几乎没有留出时间来实施重要的改革和新的宪法条款。对暴力的普遍恐惧以及实际发生的恐吓事件,都与口头的和平协议相悖。进行一次有相当自由度的投票,这点依然是可能的;但是,投票时间推迟或者投票极具争议性,甚至发生军事干预,这点也是有可能的。国际社会看来已经准备好要支持南部非洲发展共同体(南共体)。而南共体必须与GPA合作伙伴一起努力,为进行一次可信的投票确定“红线”并予以执行。

津巴布韦非洲民族联盟-爱国阵线(Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front,ZANU-PF)很有可能会抵制进一步的改革。南共体特别把重点放在有民主支持的机构上,但是津巴布韦选举委员会(Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,ZEC)却面临巨大的挑战。政府资金有限,限制了ZEC的能力建设、公关及保证选民投票完整性的能力。津巴布韦人权委员会(Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission,ZHRC)主席辞去了主席一职,理由是该委员会缺乏独立性和政府的支持。随后另一名与ZANU-PF关系紧密的委员出任ZHRC主席。GPA的联合监督和执行委员会(Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee,JOMIC)在应对政治冲突中起到了重要的作用,但却缺乏足够的支持,在处理暴力和恐吓事件时也只是治标而未能治本。

某些支持ZANU-PF的安全官员可能会设法影响民调。他们中的一些人已经要求在政治上有更大的代表性;在2008年的暴力事件中他们扮演了关键角色,保证了穆加贝的胜利,他们中却没有任何人因这场暴力受到追究。津巴布韦共和国警察(Zimbabwe Republic Police,ZRP)表现出了一定的专业水准,但是其领导人公开支持ZANU-PF,频繁骚扰“争取民主变革”(Movement for Democratic Change,MDC)派系和公民社会。争取民主变革-茨万吉拉伊派(MDC-T)无力阻止这些干扰的发生。GPA并没有为警察(或者其它安全部门)进行可信的调查提供基础,警察部门则拒绝向内务的联席部长们和JOMIC进行报告,议会对此基本毫无办法。政党面临着内部挑战。在ZANU-PF内部,“强硬派”和“改革派”阵营正在为谁来接替89岁的穆加贝打得不可开交。MDC-T正在奋力应对以下问题:据称正不断下降的支持率,内讧,以及对其支持者的有限的动员能力。

国际社会积极评价津巴布韦取得的进展,对南共体的努力也表示了支持。就新宪法举行的全民公决让欧盟解除了对大多数个人和实体(穆加贝、穆加贝的夫人格雷斯、一小部分安全官员及津巴布韦矿业开发公司等除外)的限制措施。津巴布韦和英国随后举行了十年以来的首次双边会谈以及一个为津巴布韦提供经济支持的会议,会议名称为“津巴布韦的朋友”。美国取消对两家津巴布韦银行的制裁的行动也显示了西方在支持津巴布韦改革方面所作出的努力。

南共体的首要任务是通过“遏制”来保持稳定,其重要性甚至超过了改革。这个目标仍然是模糊的,但是南共体必须按照选举纲领来巩固其推动改革的立场。改革需要监督,但是JOMIC在这方面的能力有限,而ZANU-PF反对延长其专注选举的任务,这点也让南共体颇为受挫。南共体应当在哈拉雷设立办事处,作为JOMIC的补充,但又要允许JOMIC独立地与政府进行联络。

如果与选举相关的改革持续僵持下去的话,投票可能会改期举行。政治领导人意识到,在处于大规模暴力事件的风险高发期时,以及在各政党和南共体对于可信的选举应设置什么样的可被接受的门槛还存在争议时,举行投票会带来很大危险。分裂会威胁到ZANU-PF和MDC-T在选举中的表现,所以面临分裂状况的这两个党派可能会支持延期的决定。

选举延期的决定,如果再加之来自南共体的强大压力,会为改革的推进创造机会,实现这点的前提是制定严格的时间表,大幅提高监督,让政党了解失败的风险,以及机构的缺陷得到改善和安全机构干预的可能性得到逆转。否则,“赢家通吃”的态度意味着选举很可能会引发激烈的争议。经济机会减少,伴随而来的是政治权力的丧失,这使得ZANU-PF的一些成员产生了危机感,而另一些成员则担心会因侵犯人权遭到起诉。对MDC-T而言,选举失败意味着影响力的丧失。对ZANU-PF而言,就选举结果提出争议可能意味着使国家陷入停顿从而增加它的影响力。

举行一个具有决定性的选举要求所有党派以及他们的支持者接受选举的结果。有迹象表明,穆加贝和茨万吉拉伊已经同意,双方将接受选举结果,无论哪一方失败都会被胜利的另一方所接纳。然而,这样的交易并不会自动表现为他们各自的政党会接受选举的结果,接纳失败的一方。茨万吉拉伊已经同意成为GPA的领导层在选举准备方面的领头人,这可能会使他和他的政党更难以因为选举违规而提出抗议或者退出选举。MDC-T对全民公决的默许更是搅混了政局,因为全民公决的举行是出于GPA签署方的利益,而没有考虑其它政治团体或者是公民社会的关切。

军事夺权不太可能发生,尤其是因为普通士兵的政治忠诚度存在不确定性,以及可能会受到地区的谴责和国际社会的孤立。然而,对军队的偏见的指控以及对军队共谋参与侵犯人权的指控,使得人们担心军队可能会试图影响选举结果。如果党内和党际之间的关系持续恶化的话,军队也可能以维稳力量的形象出现。

2013年是决定性的一年。在分歧严重的情况下举行选举是不太可能带来稳定的。 越来越多的人认识到最好的办法是进一步实行分权,尽管分权只会在目标已设立并被广泛接受的前提下才会有用。人们注意到,目前发生在津巴布韦的暴力事件比2008年发生的要少,但是,在选举开始之前注意到这个事实,意义并不大--因为暴力产生的根源是对权力的争夺。我们清楚的是,选举很有可能会是紧张的,也会出现一些暴力,但我们不清楚的是会出现什么样的暴力,暴力的范围有多大以及会引发什么样的反应。

约翰内斯堡⁄布鲁塞尔,2013年5月6日 

A woman walks past election posters in Harare, Zimbabwe, 19 July, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Q&A / Africa

Tensions Rise Ahead of Zimbabwe’s Elections

On 30 July Zimbabwe will hold elections. For the first time since independence Robert Mugabe is not a candidate. His successor presents himself as a reformer – but many doubt the polls will be clean. The opposition warns that Zimbabweans will not tolerate another stolen election.

What’s so important about the credibility of these polls?

On 30 July 2018 Zimbabweans will go to the polls to elect a president, parliamentarians and local councillors. The elections are an unprecedented opportunity for Zimbabweans to choose who they believe can deliver economic recovery after decades of violent, predatory and authoritarian rule by former President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). This will be the first vote since a Very Peculiar Coup in November 2017 ousted Mugabe and made way for President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a 75-year-old ZANU-PF stalwart. Mnangagwa is contesting the election on pledges of reform and economic recovery. He vows that, in a break from the past, these polls will be free and fair.

His administration recognises that, to forge the new social contract Mnangagwa promises, both voters and in particular Zimbabwe’s international backers must have confidence that the vote was indeed clean. Having come to power on the back of a “military-assisted transition”, Mnangagwa and his advisers know they cannot reform governance and promote economic growth without sustained international re-engagement. Most major donors and investors have signalled that credible elections are an important precondition.

The elections are an unprecedented opportunity for Zimbabweans to choose who they believe can deliver economic recovery after decades of violent, predatory and authoritarian rule.

Earlier this year, analysts opined that ZANU-PF would win comfortably and that the opposition would struggle to prevent the ruling party from securing a two-thirds majority in parliament. Opinion polls now suggest a much tighter race that could threaten the interests of ZANU-PF elites. Those elites will be determined to hold onto power; a run-off, required if no presidential candidate wins more than 50 per cent in the first round, could be particularly fraught.

Tensions have mounted between the main opposition alliance and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), whose independence opposition and civil society leaders increasingly question. The UN has raised concerns about the growing number of reports of voter intimidation and threats of violence, especially in rural areas where two thirds of the electorate reside. The police refused to allow an opposition demonstration against the ZEC on 25 July – an echo of past practices of political restriction that has exacerbated friction. Some have cautioned the opposition against pursuing confrontational tactics, but its leaders increasingly worry that the election will not be free and fair.

Overall, many outside powers are eager to re-engage after years of isolating Zimbabwe, which may lead some to gloss over flaws.

Can the opposition mount a credible campaign?

Mnangagwa’s main challenger is Nelson Chamisa, the 40-year-old candidate of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, which brings together seven opposition parties. Its policy is not very different from Mnangawa’s, and both claim they are best positioned to deliver economic recovery. The electorate must choose between the largely untested MDC Alliance and a ruling party claiming it has reformed.

Many observers say that conditions for elections have improved. Most obviously, there is greater political space for opposition parties to operate in predominantly rural parts of the country where they were previously barred. The MDC Alliance has held dozens of rallies and other events in these areas over the past two months. But it must dispel entrenched misperceptions of its leaders and policies that the state-run media, the only news source with a nationwide reach, has spread for many years. In addition, the opposition has far less money than ZANU-PF, which, according to civil society groups, benefits from leveraging off state resources.

Almost 5.7 million Zimbabweans are registered to vote [...], more than ever before.

Almost 5.7 million Zimbabweans are registered to vote (out of an estimated 14 million total population), more than ever before. Surveys indicate that 88 per cent of registered voters intend to cast a ballot. This includes more urban voters (who traditionally favour the opposition) than before and an unprecedented number of youth (over 60 per cent of registered voters are 40 or under). The government refused, however, to back the constitutional changes necessary for millions in the diaspora to vote, a longstanding opposition and civil society demand.

In the past, coercion and physical force were integral to Zimbabwe’s “guided” democracy, in which the ruling party under Mugabe curtailed political rights and freedoms. So far, there have been relatively few incidents of overt violence in the lead-up to this year’s polls, but June and July have brought widespread reports of threats and intimidation. As the 20 July Afrobarometer national survey shows, both the legacy of fear and the expectation of future abuse remain strong. Seventy-six per cent of those surveyed say they are still careful about what they say about politics and 43 per cent fear there will be election violence.

Do Zimbabweans trust that the elections will be free and fair?  

The Afrobarometer survey, as well as a study by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, show that over 40 per cent of the public distrusts the ZEC. The ZEC has a history of partisanship in favour of the ruling party – it still has commissioners and senior staff who endorsed the violent 2008 presidential run-off, which was rejected by African election observers. The opposition have repeatedly complained about the military’s influence in the ZEC. Its chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba, recently acknowledged that 15 per cent of its staff had been Zimbabwe Defence Force members, but were no longer military employees.

The ZEC also could have done more to make the 2018 vote preparations more transparent and inclusive. Instead, it has adopted a narrow legalistic interpretation of its mandate, rebuffing reasonable MDC Alliance and civil society demands that would contribute to enhancing its credibility.

Zimbabweans appear happy with the introduction of a biometric voters’ roll, meant to reduce the incidence of fraud.

Overall, Zimbabweans appear happy with the introduction of a biometric voters’ roll, meant to reduce the incidence of fraud. But the ZEC did not give civil society groups and opposition parties access to the final roll until 25 July, and refused an independent audit, even though donors offered to pay for it. The ZEC claims it is not legally obligated to conduct an audit. This is true, but by passing on an audit the ZEC missed an important opportunity to boost its own credibility and that of voter data – all the more important given unresolved controversies around the 2013 voters’ roll.

Other factors that undermine confidence in the ZEC include the lack of transparency in the printing and design of paper ballots. For example, no explanation was given as to why and how President Mnangagwa has one of the two top positions on the double-column ballot. Concerns about secrecy were fuelled when ZANU-PF inexplicably obtained a database of registered voters’ mobile phone numbers, which it has been using to canvass support. The MDC Alliance, other oppositionists and civil society groups lodged complaints – at the time of writing, these are largely unresolved.

These issues compound growing concerns that the elections will be stolen. As tensions mounted with the ZEC, the MDC Alliance threatened to stop the elections. But on 25 July Chamisa committed to participation, at the same time warning the ruling party and ZEC that they would “face the music if they rig or cheat”. Mnangaagwa and senior ministers are on record stating that they will accept defeat, but there are deep suspicions, fed by leaked intelligence reports, that the security power bloc that brought him to power in November will not. An MDC victory or a run-off may generate the conditions that lead to a repeat of the chaotic and violent 2008 polls.

A pre-election assessment by the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network, a leading civil society network of 30 civil society organisations, found widespread misuse of government resources by ZANU-PF. This practice is common in Zimbabwe, and rarely receives detailed attention from election observers, in part because it is difficult to measure. For example, the government started distributing farming supplies under a presidential scheme in what appears to be a crude vote-buying exercise. It has also distributed food aid at the same time and place that the opposition had scheduled rallies. ZANU-PF has continued to use school buildings and busses to force student attendance at political rallies, despite a court ruling, which ZANU-PF has appealed, prohibiting the practice. The courts also ruled that traditional leaders who receive government benefits may not publicly support ZANU-PF. Civil society reports suggest that traditional leaders remain a primary source of voter intimidation at the ruling party’s behest. For now, however, these court decisions have also been appealed, so the practices continue. Furthermore, even though the government is heavily in debt, in July it raised civil servants’ pay by 17.5 per cent and increased special allowances for military and police personnel. The ZEC has remained silent on all these issues.

The ZEC’s work is hampered by financial and technical shortfalls. It has refused Western donors’ offers from of funding, because the money was tied to international monitoring of its technical capacities, the development of the voters’ roll and audits of those rolls. The government has not made up the shortfalls. These limitations play out on several fronts, from weak management of voters’ roll development to poor communications and public relations and insufficient transparency. These issues have compounded frustrations and contributed to rising tensions.

Will the vote go to a second round? What would that mean?

According to survey data released on 20 July by Afrobarometer, 40 per cent of Zimbabweans will vote for Mnangagwa and 37 per cent for Chamisa, with 20 per cent undecided or unwilling to disclose their choice. These results, if accurate, would suggest the presidential contest is much closer than many had imagined. If no candidate secures more than 50 per cent of the vote on 30 July, there will be a run-off on 8 September.

The last time this happened, in 2008, ZANU-PF in cahoots with the military used massive coercion and violence to swing the vote for Mugabe. The ZANU-PF government was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of opposition activists and thousands of assaults. The ZEC certified the 2008 vote, but most international observers, including both the African Union (AU) and the regional body, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), rejected it.

President Mnangagwa recently publicly denied that violence occurred during this period – perhaps understandably, since many of his detractors hold him and other members of the executive directly responsible. Still, tensions will rise significantly if there is a second round and the ruling party’s hold on power appears under threat. ZANU-PF and security elites could be tempted to use violence to influence the outcome. In the event of a run-off, international actors should step up their diplomatic engagement – and the SADC and AU observer teams should extend and expand their presence on the ground – to help deter violence.  

Does the military present a threat to these elections?

Over 40 per cent of Zimbabweans fear the military will intervene in the election, according to Afrobarometer. For many years Zimbabwe Defence Forces leaders have said they would support only a political leader with liberation movement credentials. (Chamisa was born two years before independence.) In November 2017 they waded into ZANU-PF’s factional struggles, forcing Mugabe to step down and allowing Mnangagwa to take over. Since then, senior ZANU-PF politicians have said the military would never accept an MDC victory.

In early July, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces gave a press conference to refute allegations that it engages in partisan political activities across Zimbabwe. The military claimed that it would uphold the constitution. Yet critics point out that it did not do so when it pushed out Mugabe. There are ever more reports, from a range of civil society and political party sources, that soldiers are stationed across the country, with many out of uniform. At the July press conference, the military acknowledged that soldiers are dispersed throughout the country, but claimed they are home on leave or deployed for official duties, such as patrolling borders and in the state-directed Command Agriculture program. It is widely assumed by civil society and opposition parties, however, that they are assisting ZANU-PF. The defence forces label the media and civil society reports as “irresponsible”, though the same allegations originated from senior former members of ZANU-PF close to the top brass.  

What happens if there are disputes or election violence this time around?

The ZEC considers its multi-party liaison committees – established at national, provincial and district levels – as the primary dispute resolution mechanism. But it has not made these committees’ minutes or decisions public. The Zimbabwe Council of Churches recently wrote a public letter to the ZEC that noted the public was losing faith that these committees would settle disagreements rationally and fairly.

In May, the ZEC, in collaboration with two other largely untested and under resourced statutory bodies, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, established a special committee to investigate political violence ahead of the 2018 polls.

In late June, political parties signed a peace pledge designed to strengthen the political code of conduct. The judiciary also has set up fast-track courts to try perpetrators of politically motivated violence. Special prosecutors and magistrates have been appointed to handle such cases.

What role will election observers play?

Election observer missions will play an important role. President Mnangagwa recognised their participation would strengthen the credibility of the election process and has opened Zimbabwe’s doors to a number of observer organisations, several of which were denied access over the last sixteen years. These include missions from the European Union (EU), the Commonwealth, the Carter Center, and the National Democratic and International Republican Institutes, as well as the AU and SADC from closer to home. Yet long-term observation began only in late June (EU) and early July (AU and SADC), which restricts what they can monitor, especially regarding the political environment, and both the AU and SADC teams on the ground are relatively small. The AU, for example, has deployed fourteen long-term observers with a core team of four and will deploy 50 short-term observers for polling and counting. They will remain in Zimbabwe until mid-August, unless there is a run-off. The SADC team has 63 observers deployed nationally. The EU has the biggest mission, deployed across the country, and it will expand to more than 140 persons for the actual balloting. It will remain in country for up to two months after the polls to observe the tabulation of results and dispute resolution. According to the ZEC, there are over 600 foreign observers in total.

It will be difficult to judge objectively whether the polls are free and fair. Observer missions should ensure they factor the playing field and campaign environment into their assessments, and not just base them on voting and counting alone.

With almost 11,000 polling stations, many in remote areas, international missions must rely on reports by political parties and approximately 6,000 accredited domestic observers. Their vigilance and the quality of their reporting, along with polling agents, will be essential for deterring election violations and informing international groups.

As always, but particularly in these elections, it will be difficult to judge objectively whether the polls are free and fair. Observer missions should ensure they factor the playing field and campaign environment into their assessments, and not just base them on voting and counting alone. They also should explain and substantiate their conclusions. Inexplicably, SADC never made its final 2013 Zimbabwe election observation report available. That omission should not be repeated.

While the EU observation missions tend to be more experienced and technically proficient, the AU and SADC evaluations are likely to generate more attention, particularly from regional states likely to give them the greatest credence, as in the past. In 2000 and 2002, the two bodies’ observer missions disagreed about whether the elections were free and fair. Observer missions should try to coordinate their findings to avoid similar confusion, which could compound the challenge of a contested outcome.

These elections could be [Zimbabwe]’s most consequential since independence in 1980. Turnout will be a key factor.

According to many analysts and political players, these elections could be the country’s most consequential since independence in 1980. Turnout will be a key factor. No more than 3.4 million Zimbabweans have voted in any previous poll. Yet notwithstanding all the unresolved concerns, Zimbabweans appear keen to participate this time around. If voters turn out in large numbers, and the outcome is credible, these polls may help lay the foundation for Zimbabwe’s recovery from years of misrule. If, however, the outcome is disputed by either of the main protagonists, violence is likely. Violence will almost certainly dash the prospects of governance reform, international re-engagement and much-needed economic revitalisation, which would help just not Zimbabwe, but all of southern Africa.