News / Africa

In Zimbabwe Poll, Mud-Slinging Trumps Debate of Real Issues

  • Residents of Epworth look through a hole in a fence covered in campaign posters, Harare, July 30, 2013.
  • Leader of Zimbabwe's opposition party Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai greets supporters at a rally in Harare, July 29, 2013.
  • A poster showing opposition to Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is seen at a final Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) campaign rally in Harare, July 29, 2013.
  • Zimbabwe President and Zanu-PF leader Robert Mugabe addresses party supporters at his last campaign rally in Harare, July 28, 2013.
  • A supporter wears earrings showing Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe as he addresses an election rally in Bulawayo, west of Harare, July 27, 2013.

Zimbabwe Prepares for Contentious Polls

Anita Powell
Much of the rhetoric surrounding Zimbabwe’s presidential election, set to take place on July 31, has involved personal attacks on the major candidates. But what have the ZANU-PF and MDC parties, both separately and as a coalition, achieved for ordinary Zimbabweans in the last five years? And what are they promising now?

One thing that rarely comes up in Zimbabwean politics is the issues. The past few weeks of campaigning have centered around allegations of vote-rigging and around the major personalities involved in the presidential race.

On the one side: longtime President Robert Mugabe; on the other, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Both are adept at slinging rhetoric at each other, which dominates much of the attention.

But both sides agree that Zimbabwe has serious needs. The economy was on the brink of collapse in 2008, during the last contentious election. It has improved since the inauguration of a power-sharing government comprising Mugabe and Tsvangirai. And now, both sides are trying to claim credit for that improvement.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace arrive to address the final rally of his ZANU-PF party in Harare, July 28, 2013.Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace arrive to address the final rally of his ZANU-PF party in Harare, July 28, 2013.
x
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace arrive to address the final rally of his ZANU-PF party in Harare, July 28, 2013.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace arrive to address the final rally of his ZANU-PF party in Harare, July 28, 2013.
Mugabe’s ZANU-PF unveiled its manifesto earlier this month. The party favors nationalization and a program of indigenization - meaning all business should be majority black-owned. It also promised to create 2.3 million jobs in the next five years, to revamp infrastructure and to sell off non-performing state companies. The approach is rooted in Mugabe’s stubborn refusal to work with Western nations that have criticized his rule.

The opposing Movement for Democratic Change, Tsvangirai’s party, has a more outward-looking view, and a plan to attract more foreign investment to a nation that has become increasingly isolated.

The MDC's treasurer, Roy Bennett, has lived in political exile in South Africa since 2010 -- when, he said, he was persecuted and forced to flee Zimbabwe.  He said his party has clearly improved the nation since it entered into the power-sharing government with Mugabe’s ZANU-PF following the violent 2008 poll.

“The people of Zimbabwe want change. They have had 13 years of repression, of violence, of rigged elections. And in those 13 years, ZANU-PF has created a failed state through their policies.  As we sit here today, things are tough in Zimbabwe," he said.

"The MDC entered the government of national unity, which brought about economic stabilization, … a monetary system, a dual monetary system, which eased the lives of the people in Zimbabwe.  It created an upturn in economics, it reduced inflation from 221 million percent down to under 4.5 percent. So, there’s a lot of positives and a lot that can be done for moving the process in Zimbabwe forward," he added.

Three different high-ranking ZANU-PF officials did not answer calls seeking comment on Monday.

But perhaps their feelings can be summed up by a large poster seen inside Zimbabwe's communications ministry. The poster features a large photograph of a slightly younger Mugabe, and has a simple message: “Mugabe is right.”

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid