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Country Watch

Mugabe’s reelection. However, Western leaders still doubt the credibility of the election.

African media outlets and Western media outlets alike have sent very mixed reviews of Mugabe’s reelection. The United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia have all voiced concerns that Zanu-PF party officials influenced the results of the election to ensure a victory for Mugabe. However, lack of international observation during the election has left the world guessing whether the results are the will of the Zimbabwean peo- ple or, in the words of United States Secretary of State John Kerry, “a culmination of a deeply flawed process.”


Although little solid proof exists that the election’s results were influenced by government officials, there are many irregularities. In a recent state- ment to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Acting Assistant Secretary Donald Tamamoto of the Bureau of African Affairs, refer- enced reports of voter intimidation and illicit shap- ing of the election in favor of Zanu-PF officials.

Wilf Mbanga, editor and founder of The Zimba- bwean, accused the Registrar General’s Office of disenfranchising young urban voters – the largest supporters of Tsvangirai and his party, the Move- ment for Democratic Change (MDC). Mbanga also refers to evidence of Zanu-PF officials bus- ing rural voters – which typically vote in favor of Zanu-PF officials – into urban voting centers and giving them slips that allowed them to vote there illegally. He alleges that this had a major role in the MDC’s loss of urban seats. Furthermore, vot- ing in urban centers reportedly involved very long lines, mass confusion on voter rolls, and issues with proper registration. One Zimbabwean moni- toring group estimated that 99.97 percent of rural voters were registered, compared to only 67.94 percent of urban voters.

The head of the SADC Election Observer Mission to Zimbabwe, Bernard Membe, recently delivered the final report verifying SADC’s opinion that the

election was free and fair. In 2008 Membe was noted for saying that a runoff election between Mugabe and Tsvangirai would never be free and fair because of violence against Tsvangirai’s sup- porters. The notoriously violent 2008 election also resulted in a showdown between Mugabe and Tsvangirai. Although neither candidate won a majority, Tsvangirai received more votes than Mugabe. Violence against MDC supporters even- tually led Tsvangirai to pull out of the runoff elec- tion and settle for a negotiated position as Prime Minister under Mugabe.

As the media has noted, the 2013 election has not been as violent as the preceding election. However, there are still doubts concerning the election’s fairness. Moreover, there is room for doubt that the SADC is a credible observer.

Malawian President Joyce Banda is the current chair of the SADC. Banda is also an avid supporter of Mugabe. At the recent SADC summit in Lilon- gwe, Malawi, Banda led regional leaders in con- gratulating Mugabe on his victory – not only for his reelection, but his appointment as the new 2014 chairman for the SADC.

Implications for Zimbabwe

Mugabe has restated his intentions to pursue his indigenisation programme, pledging to extend a 51 percent local ownership minimum to corpo- rations within all major sectors of the economy. Companies like Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Anglo American Platinum Ltd. have already been forced to cede majority shares of their local assets to black Zimbabweans or the Zimbabwe- an government. Mugabe also plans to continue with land redistribution from larger landowners to peasants. However, there is very little evidence of this redistribution having taken place.

There are several likely policy implications that can be drawn from five more years under Mugabe’s administration – a general discouragement of for- eign investment, rejection of Western aid, eco- nomic stagnation, and potential human rights vio-

ILSA Quarterly » volume 22 » issue 1 » October 2013

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