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(September 11, 2023)

HARARE. Once again in Zimbabwe the elections were probably rigged by those who led this country to disaster which, at the time of white domination, when it was called Rhodesia, was flourishing.

ZANU-PF, which has dominated the national political scene since independence (1980), has won both presidential and legislative elections.

Few, however, believe that this is a clean victory because it’s doubtful that anyone can still approve the policy of the former single party which made bad governance, the most blatant corruption and the lack of respect for human rights the characteristics of its style of government.



The presidential elections, according to the electoral commission strongly influenced by the ruling elite, were won by Emmerson Mnangagwa, 80 years old, with 52.6% while his rival, Nelson Chamisa, 45, got 44%;

In the legislative elections, ZANU-PF won 137 out of 210 seats in the National Assembly while the CCC (Citizens Coalition for Change) received 73 mandates.

The hemicycle is completed by 60 deputies elected on the lists reserved for women.



The opposition, obviously, rejects the outcome of the count: “We can’t accept the results,” says Promise Mkwananzi, spokeman for the CCC, describing the vote count as “false”.

Moreover, even before the vote, the rallies of Mnangagwa’s opponents had been banned and the press was almost entirely in favor of ZANU-PF.

During the polling days, which took place on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 August, several dysfunctions emerged: missing ballots, incomplete electoral lists, absence of scrutineers, polling stations opening late or remaining closed.

Meanwhile, party-state activists tried their hand at intimidating voters and members of civil society.

newsday, an independent site, reports that during the electoral campaign and voting operations, FAZ, Forever Associates Zimbabwe, was active, an organization made up of former Harare secret service agents who carried out espionage on members of civil society.




Born in 1942, a Mugabe loyalist who later fell into disgrace, “the Crocodile” (this was his nom de guerre at the time of the guerrilla war against the white government) presented himself as the one who would reopen the country to European and American investments and obtain the end of the international isolation desired by Mugabe, before taking refuge in a wave of repressive measures that alienated Western public opinions and frustrated efforts in this direction. More importantly, he has failed to keep his promise to reform a welfare and social security system severely tested by the economic and financial crisis in which Zimbabwe plunged for over twodecades. Family allowances and social insurance, presented as the solution to the poverty that grips a country in which the formal economy currently offers employment to just 15% of the population, still reach only a small minority of families and haven’t even partially achieved the goal of improving the living conditions of the majority of Zimbabweans. However, the polls, which show widespread dissatisfaction with the way the country is governed, are the most worrying signal for the president and the party in power.



Born in 1978, Chamisa grew up politically in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and in 2018 he took over at the last minute as presidential candidate in place of the founder of the movement and historical leader of the opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, who passed away due to cancer of the colon a few months before the electoral deadline. Defying the usual campaign of fraud, violence and intimidation – which culminated in the killing of six demonstrators the day after the results were announced – Chamisa had obtained a significant 44% which, if not enough to force Mnangagwa into the second round (51%), after Mugabe’s departure, it had reaffirmed the consistency of the opposition and effectively prevented the full consolidation of the new regime.
Despite the good result, in the following years his leadership was objected to by other party leaders, until the decision to abandon the MDC and launch, in January 2022, a new political formation, the CCC, which in the following months he seems to have occupied the political space of the MDC.
The propensity for splits between internal currents that has characterized the entire history of the anti-Mugabe opposition is certainly attributable to a leadership deficit and the inability to overcome and reconcile the personal rivalries that emerged in the ruling group. However, it also reflects frustration with the obstacles encountered, for over two decades, by the MDC in its attempt to broaden its electoral base to achieve a majority of votes at the national level. Born at the end of the 1990s in the main urban areas of the country under the initiative of groups active in the defense of civil rights and the independent ZCTU trade union, the MDC has regularly gained support and seats up for grabs in Harare and Bulawayo, the two largest cities in the country (among the most modern and developed in the entire sub-Saharian Africa after the South African ones), but has always failed in the attempt to build a basis of consensus in rural Zimbabwe, where control established by ZANU-PF in the years of the civil war against the white regime was cemented, after independence, through a solid alliance with local leaders and the targeted use of public investments. The ideological platform of the MDC, founded on the reconciliation between neoliberalism and social democracy and inspired by Tony Blair’s Third Way, the support from the local white community and the unconditional support it has always enjoyed in Western countries, combined with the refusal to ask for the withdrawal of economic sanctions against Mugabe, still in force, have represented obstacles for Tsvangirai’s movement. In fact, the MDC has always had to face the accusation of collaboration with “neo-imperialism”, cloaked in humanitarian moralism, which ZANU-PF accuses the British government, international financial institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).



Once the elections are over, people, the BBC observes, continue with their normal activities: for some it’s as if the vote had never taken place.

“Many – writes Shingai Nyoka from Harare – don’t believe that elections can change their lives.

Few want to stage protests against the government: the memory of the victims caused by the intervention of the military who opened fire on angry demonstrators is still vivid in memory because in 2018 the electoral commission was late in publishing the outcome of the vote of that year.

The police, for its part, have guaranteed that will repress any hostile demonstrations.

An example is provided by the CCC itself: in the hours in which Mnangagwa took office again as president (September 4), in the presence of the leaders of Mozambique and South Africa, two lawyers were arrested on charges of obstruction of justice they opposed the interrogation of some CCC activists, kidnapped by unknown people, severely beaten and subsequently hospitalized in poor health.

Doug Coltart and Tapiwa Muchineripi are now at risk, as is anyone who opposes the logic of the kleptocrat and the gang that supports it.



On the other hand, from his point of view, Mnangagwa is right: who, in their right mind, would give their vote to people who in forty years have stripped an almost flourishing country with an agriculture capable of producing more than enough foodstuffs to feed everyone?

Poverty has only increased in Zimbabwe since the ZANU-PF gang of thieves seized power after the end of the apartheid regime of Ian Smith.

If the government of the white minority was certainly deplorable, so is that of the black elite that replaced it: from liberators they quickly turned into oppressors.

Those who hoped, in 2017, that with Mugabe’s removal from power the country would turn the page were disappointed because Mnangagwa reproduced, once becoming President, the same dynamics of his predecessor.




How – Jeune Afrique asks – did Zanu-PF manage to maintain power for so long?Mugabe was very effective at eliminating his opponents. Shortly after becoming prime minister, he ordered the violent repression of the leaders and supporters of the Zapu movement, who had fought alongside him against the white minority regime. Around 20,000 civilians were killed in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces in Operation Gukurahundi (1983-1987).

The government has never acknowledged his responsibility, has never apologized to the families of the victims or offered compensation. Mnangagwa was national security minister at the time and remained at Mugabe’s side until he suddenly fell out of favor.



Zanu-PF still considers itself irreplaceable: it controls the media, has vast financial resources because it has amassed great wealth.

Robert Mugabe, before his death, said that 15 billion dollars had probably disappeared, resulting from the sale of diamonds;

During the agrarian reform of the early 2000s, the party leaders had got their hands on many farms, mostly expropriated from white farmers;

lastly, the gold mafia scandal and the looting of agricultural subsidies.



on the repressive front, the government, having a large majority in parliament, has adopted a battery of laws that repress online dissent and limit the spaces of civil society.



On the other hand, Mnangagwa knows that as long as the army supports him he will not run any risk: yet the economy is in ruins, inflation is running at over 700% per year and the national currency is not even worth the paper with which it is printed. In fact, people use the US dollar instead of the Zimbabwean.

How long can this disaster last?


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