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Three Critical African Elections
Three Critical African 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 

Protesters supporting opposition leader Raila Odinga, run away from police in the slum area of Mathare in the capital Nairobi, Kenya, on 26 October, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola
Commentary / Africa

Three Critical African Elections

Delayed elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the stalled transition risks provoking a major crisis, are one of three critical African polls: the DRC crisis, the recent vote in Kenya and Zimbabwe’s election next year all have important implications for democracy and stability on the continent.

Crisis Group’s recent publications on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including our 4 December 2017 report, examine the crisis provoked by President Joseph Kabila’s determination to hold onto power and repeatedly delayed elections. The DRC is only one of three African countries we cover whose future course could depend in part on the holding of credible elections: one vote past, in Kenya; one future, Zimbabwe’s 2018 polls; and one deferred, in the DRC.

These polls have had – or will have – important implications for democracy and stability not only in the three countries themselves but for the region as a whole. Notwithstanding many positive trends on the continent, the serious flaws in Kenya’s vote, delays and risks of manipulation in the DRC and worrying signs in Zimbabwe could prove indicative of a troubling trend of backsliding in Africa.

The contexts for the Kenyan, Congolese and Zimbabwean polls vary: from Kenya’s competitive but flawed democracy, to DRC’s long transition out of civil war to Zimbabwe’s first post-Mugabe elections. Yet they face challenges common to democratic consolidation across the continent. Public office comes with vast power and access to resources; those who lose elections are left with little.

This raises the stakes for both government and opposition, meaning too many elections are fierce, all-or-nothing affairs or incumbents skew the playing field, manipulate polls to ensure they win, or both.

Institutions, particularly electoral authorities and courts, become battle grounds and face enormous political pressure, complicating their administration and adjudication of elections. The opposition rarely has good options: compete in unfair conditions and legitimise the vote; or boycott, a strategy that rarely serves its interests over time. Facing uphill battles, some struggle to remain united. Others adopt rejectionist tactics.

Kenya: Frayed Democracy

Kenya’s recent crisis was all the more troubling because of the progress the country has made since the 2007-2008 post-election violence. Its 2010 constitution diluted presidential power, created new checks and balances, introduced more inclusive procedures for the appointment of election officials, devolved resources to newly-created counties and set up institutions to monitor and call out hate speech. These reforms should have served to lower the temperature of high stakes elections. Yet Kenyan leaders largely reverted to the old playbook. Ethnic politics dominated. The campaign was driven mostly by identity and money.

Both sides played hardball ahead of the vote. President Kenyatta’s ruling Jubilee Party drew from the public purse to campaign and the police responded with brutal force to opposition protests. Opposition leader Raila Odinga, in what looked likely to be his last shot at the presidency, repeatedly asserted before the polls that he would win if procedures were fair and would reject a vote he lost. Delays in the procurement of election equipment and the murder of the official responsible for overseeing the IT results systems did little to instil confidence.

To Odinga’s credit, after official results showed him losing, he called for restraint and took his grievances to the courts. The Supreme Court ruling revealed serious failures in complying with electoral laws and regulations, in particular during the crucial phase of transmitting results, further eroding trust in electoral officials.

Crisis Group argued that the ruling should have given both sides reason to compromise: for Kenyatta, the scale of the problems it identified might have led him to seek a clearer mandate through a fresh vote with improved procedures; for Odinga, it vindicated his complaints about electoral integrity but did not find evidence that irregularities changed the outcome.

Instead, both doubled down and threatened the election commission, which itself was beset by infighting. Kenyatta, feeling betrayed by the judges, adopted increasingly harsh rhetoric, including against the judiciary. Jubilee sowed distrust by pushing through electoral legislation without due consultation with their opponents, complicating efforts to reach consensus on reforms. For his part, Odinga’s demands were mostly reasonable but not all implementable before the rerun. His subsequent boycott meant that the vote proceeded without the participation of a candidate who had won some 45 per cent of the votes in the annulled election and still commanded the support of almost half of Kenyans, casting a shadow over Kenyatta’s mandate.

Kenya’s election once again laid bare the ethnic cleavages in society that elites are all too quick to manipulate.

Kenya’s election once again laid bare the ethnic cleavages in society that elites are all too quick to manipulate. It would be hard to portray it as anything but a disaster for Kenyan democracy. Six weeks after the rerun, leaders need to start bridging those divides. President Kenyatta should reach out to Odinga; restoring the official security detail he is due as a former prime minister, but which was withdrawn in mid-August, could be an initial gesture. A public display of talks between the two men would help dial down tensions.

Western diplomats in Nairobi, who played a useful role during the election, should push both sides to rein in hardliners. The creation of a position of official opposition leader with a budget and perks, which has been proposed by religious leaders and could be implemented through legislation, would be one way to recognise the support Odinga commands. The opposition also should focus on supporting its members who did win office and building support within communities that voted for Kenyatta’s party.

Left to fester, the wounds of the 2017 vote are likely to bode ill both for Kenyan democracy and the country’s stability over time. In a sign of deepening frustration after the flawed elections, leaders in regions of the country where Odinga draws most support – Western areas and the Coast – are calling for secession.

DRC: A Dangerous Delay

The consequences of the DRC’s stalled transition could be graver still. In December 2016, President Kabila’s ruling coalition and the opposition signed the Saint Sylvester agreement – stipulating that elections should take place at the end of 2017 after which Kabila should leave power – which appeared to offer a way forward. Since then, however, President Kabila, profiting from a divided opposition and a lack of international engagement, backtracked, asserting control over government, the oversight mechanism and electoral authorities in direct contravention of Saint Sylvester. In November 2017, the election commission announced an electoral calendar leading to a vote at the end of 2018.

The Congolese opposition is considerably weaker than its Kenyan counterpart. The death in February of its veteran leader, Etienne Tshisekedi, arguably the only figure able to inspire large public support and who should have led the Saint Sylvester agreement oversight committee, has not helped. Other leaders, including former Governor Moïse Katumbi (who could yet emerge as a serious challenger to Kabila), face prosecution and stay outside the country rather than return and risk jail; their absence is understandable but leaves the opposition rudderless.

Others have broken ranks and joined Kabila’s government. Those remaining refuse to engage in talks, call for a transitional government without Kabila to be set up after the agreement’s election deadline passes this year – a demand with no hope of success – but do not develop or publicise their own policies on social and economic issues critical to a restive citizenry.

As the political impasse deepens, violence is escalating in several provinces. The political settlement that ended the 2002 civil war, which explicitly included a presidential term limit to guarantee the rotation of power, is fraying. Local insurgencies, ethnic clashes, massive jail breaks and crackdowns by security forces are all on the rise.

The DRC’s humanitarian crisis, already one of the world’s most severe, looks set to deepen.

The DRC’s humanitarian crisis, already one of the world’s most severe, looks set to deepen. Gradually worsening instability appears the likeliest course – in fact in some cases the regime appears to stoke instability as a pretext for election delays. But a sudden implosion cannot be ruled out and would destabilise the region. Already Angola and the Republic of Congo fret about possible refugee surges across their borders.

While a more engaged opposition is essential to a transition, only concerted international and regional pressure can push President Kabila toward a credible election. But both African and Western positions have been mostly reactive. They have also diverged: Western powers are increasingly critical and have sanctioned some of Kabila’s entourage; while many African leaders recognise the dangers behind closed doors, they have been reluctant to criticise him openly and question the value of sanctions. Support from African powers for Kabila buys him breathing space.

As Crisis Group’s report today argues, both Western and African powers need to redouble efforts to build consensus. Even united, nudging Kabila toward elections would be hard; divided, prospects are close to zero. The Saint Sylvester principles – the organisation of credible elections, no constitutional amendment to allow a third term for Kabila and an opening of political space and respect for human rights – still offer the best route out of the crisis.

The new elections calendar, which is feasible and gives the opposition time to organise, offers an entry point for engagement. But this engagement must be based on a shared Western and African understanding that President Kabila’s delays and attempts to hold onto power by indefinitely postponing the vote and eventually challenge the constitution pose the gravest threat to DRC’s and regional stability. International actors involved in electoral preparations, including the UN, regional groups and the EU, should monitor adherence to the calendar, warn against unjustified slippage and guard as best possible the credibility of the electoral process, including voter registration.

Zimbabwe: Democracy’s New Dawn?

In Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s ouster presents a historic opportunity to turn the page on four decades of divisive and enormously destructive one-party rule. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the new president, struck a conciliatory tone in public statements, pledging to reach across political and ethnic lines. He also reportedly floated forming an inclusive transitional government until general elections, scheduled for mid-2018.

Over the past few days, however, he appears to have backtracked. His new cabinet reflects a consolidation of the old guard, including senior military officers and war veterans. The stalwarts of the ruling party, ZANU-PF, that now hold power are implicated in many of Mugabe’s worst excesses, including the rigging of the 2008 presidential vote and crackdowns before the run-off that robbed the Zimbabwean opposition of victory.

The security elites that orchestrated the “military assisted transition” did so largely to protect their own interests; prospects for reforms that threaten those interests appear slim, although Mnangagwa promised to improve governance and clean up corruption. But he has not said much about changes to the election system, security sector or devolution of power. To the ZANU-PF faithful his tone was also uncompromising: “ZANU-PF will continue ruling no matter what, while those who oppose it will continue barking”. The leader has gone, in other words, but, at least for now, the regime remains.

[Zimbabwe's opposition's] plight over the past decade illustrates challenges familiar across the continent.

Moreover, the opposition is weak and fragmented. Its plight over the past decade illustrates challenges familiar across the continent. It has repeatedly contested elections, but Mugabe’s crackdown in 2008 made clear that the regime had no intention of ceding control. Worried that security forces’ violence could spiral out of control, Western and regional powers pushed both sides to agree to a government of national unity, but sharing power arguably tainted the opposition’s leaders and weakened it further.

Boycotting by-elections since 2013 does not appear to have paid dividends, as ZANU-PF’s parliamentary majority grew. Years of repression complicate efforts to keep opposition ranks united. The latest attempt, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, launched in August 2017 and which unites different MDC factions under Zimbabwe’s long-time opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, has struggled to attract smaller factions and lacks funds. Whether Tsvangirai himself, who is in poor health, can campaign next year is unclear; but there is no obvious alternative. Indeed, a more serious threat might come from within the ranks of the ruling party, though whether factions sidelined by Mnangagwa’s takeover will have space to regroup remains unclear.

That said, Mugabe’s departure, the more moderate tone struck by Mnangagwa, at least in public, and the fact he needs to put on a good show does raise prospects, however slim, for a cleaner vote next year. Broad consensus exists among opposition politicians and civil society on necessary reforms. These include a credible voter registration process; an independent and capable election commission, with parliamentary oversight; a playing field free of intimidation and hate speech; and access for observers, all of which should be laid out in new legislation.

Despite the tight timeline, none of this would be difficult to roll out were the new government to choose to do so. The elections guidelines of the regional body, SADC (Southern African Development Community), provides a framework for assessing, both before and after elections, conditions for a credible vote. An indicator of Mnangagwa’s commitment will be his government’s willingness to allow space for such evaluations. Others leaders of SADC countries, whose track record in Harare is mixed but who still enjoy more influence there than other foreign powers, should push against any resistance; the African Union should also monitor closely long-term preparations for the vote. Ideally the opposition would focus on grassroots campaigning and attempt to build momentum behind a single candidate with a clear platform that sets it apart from ZANU-PF.

Reversing Worrying Continental Trends

Many African states have seen enormous advances over the past few decades. In West Africa in particular, democratic norms are more entrenched and a strong consensus exists against incumbents circumventing term limits, even when they try to do so. Overall, however, the continent still struggles with succession. While all countries hold regular, multiparty elections, peaceful transitions of power between one party or leader to another are still too rare. Over recent years, a spate of leaders extending their tenure past constitutional limits, political space narrowing in many countries and a series of election-related crises suggest the trend, at least in parts of Africa, is headed the wrong way.

This matters for stability on the continent. Not every disputed election or move toward authoritarian drift will provoke conflict; not all credible elections will avoid it; and a vote is not the answer to every problem. But a fair vote is invariably better than a rigged one. Even where flawed polls do not provoke bloodshed, superficial calm can obscure problems that will erupt later.

Fewer Kenyans were killed this year than during the 2007/2008 crisis, but still the gulf in society left by the vote and the deep sense of grievance harboured by opposition supporters could have profound implications over time. Already, violence across the DRC is escalating; Kabila’s repeated election delays risk driving the country off a cliff. In Zimbabwe, while a ZANU-PF romp to victory on a skewed playing field might provoke less violence than the upset MDC win in 2008, a prolongation of the stagnant Mugabe governance – particularly the dire prospects for many young people – would herald problems over time.

Taken together, Kenya’s election crisis, the DRC’s stalled transition and dashed hopes in Zimbabwe – should political space there remain closed – would not only conform to worrying authoritarian trends. They would do much to deepen it. Leaders learn from the experience of their neighbours, and the more they see fellow presidents manipulate and pervert democracy for their own ends, the more likely they are to pursue similar methods.