News / Africa

Zimbabwe Election Outcome Remains Uncertain

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of Zimbabwe's opposition party Movement For Democratic Change (MDC), greets supporters at a rally in Harare, July 29, 2013.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of Zimbabwe's opposition party Movement For Democratic Change (MDC), greets supporters at a rally in Harare, July 29, 2013.
Zimbabweans head to the polls Wednesday in a hotly-anticipated election that analysts say could go either way. Longtime President Robert Mugabe is facing off against his archrival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The vote is tainted by the memory of the violent 2008 election, five years of tumultuous politics, and repeated allegations of human rights abuses, intimidation and vote-rigging by Mugabe’s forces.
 
Some Zimbabwe analysts are convinced the aging Mugabe is poised for yet another victory, extending his three-decade-long rule as head of the ZANU-PF party. Others say Tsvangirai, of the Movement for Democratic Change, might finally pull ahead after two failed campaigns.

The two men were joined together in an unhappy power-sharing coalition after the violence-marred 2008 poll. Wednesday’s vote is a chance for the two warring politicians to finally separate.
 
Human Rights Watch’s senior Africa researcher, Dewa Mavhinga, predicts an outcry either way.
 
“Even if Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC were to win, it is unlikely that there would be peaceful transition and transfer of power given the dynamics around security forces which have come out openly that they would not respect an election outcome that does not favor President Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF,” said Mavhinga.
 
The pre-election period has been slanted in favor of Mugabe, according to Gideon Chitanga, a researcher at the Centre for Study of Democracy at Rhodes University and the University of Johannesburg. He points to tainted voters’ rolls for security forces, chaotic voter registration, and intimidation of those opposed to Mugabe’s party.   Despite this, he said it is still possible for the MDC to win.
 
“We know as political scientists that sometimes rigging can never be enough to subvert the will of the people," said Chitanga. "So it means even with the current extent of rigging, there is still an opportunity that the MDC can win these elections.”
 
Political analyst Munjodzi Mutandiri agrees Mugabe’s side is using underhanded tactics to win, but he disagrees that the MDC can win. Mutandiri also works for the National Constitutional Assembly, a group that opposed the nation’s recently passed new constitution because they argued it still gave Mugabe too much power.
 
“ZANU-PF has made sure that violence is toned down. There is tactical intimidation. They worked on the voters’ roll to skew it towards them, which tells us that they are really serious about winning this election," Mutandiri said. "So from where I stand, it is very clear that MDC does not stand a chance.”
 
The personal woes of the top two contenders could work against them.
 
Zimbabwean journalist Trust Matsilele doesn’t think the nation’s voters will support a candidate as old as Mugabe, who is 89, and under the new constitution, he is allowed to serve two more five-year presidential terms.  
 
“Their candidate is 90 years old which is unheard of, for a 90 -year-old to win an election," Matsilele said. "He was too old to run 10 years ago, so I don’t see how he can win this election.”
 
Mugabe has repeatedly rebuffed concerns that he is too old to do the job.
 
Meanwhile, reports detailing the prime minister’s active love life might prove damaging.
 
“The majority of people in Zimbabwe who do vote are women, and women, I tell you definitely for sure, did not take lightly when Morgan Tsvangirai was hopping from one woman to another," said Zimbabwean journalist Stanley Karombo. "So women are going to punish him for all these blunders during this election.”
 
Critics blame Mugabe and his party for ruining the economy of the once-prosperous nation. Rights groups have also accused the president and his security forces of widespread intimidation and human rights abuses.
 
But as of last week, the African Union endorsed the election process. On a visit to Harare, African Union commission head, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said all parties told her that they are happy with the way the Zimbabwe Election Commission prepared for the vote and they will accept the results.
 
She was immediately contradicted by Tsvangirai who said he raised serious concerns with her, including a voter registration process he believes has disenfranchised tens of thousands of people.
 
While the outcome of the election is uncertain, Wednesday’s poll promises to be a potent mix of politics, personality and power.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Simon Sibanda
July 30, 2013 12:20 AM
Human Right abuses cannot be made against Morgan Tsvangirai and the world knows this.

He is the ONLY person that gives new hope to all citizens, given all that has happened in the past and can lead the Country to a stable and prosperous future for everyone.


by: Oliver Nwagwu from: Winnipeg, MN . Canada
July 29, 2013 3:20 PM
The West lost their pursuit the last time they attempted t to start political unrest in Zimbabwe. They're back to what they do best once again and how best it can be done than the recruitment of rejects or incompetent African ex this and that whose ruined political gains in their own nations . Mugabe know the history when he rejected the presence of Nigeria's ex military General Obasanjo with world standard history of corruption and plan-less budgetary regime that cost his nation over 40years of petroleum revenue and denied citizens full access to such income in sacrifice for better day they've never had to modern day. The only beneficiary is his Otta farm , where he spent capital time to preside and approve contracts to himself according records. I have no illusions Mugabe and the entire political outfit in Zimbabwe can now seize the moment to put the interest of the nation ahead of personal interest for the betterment of Zimbabweans, in particular, to keep the wheels of industrialization rolling . . That is wisdom ,it's the whole idea of pragmatism . Once beaten they say, is twice shy. Former colonial partners have become parasites, they're acting like wounded lions to take away what can be gotten through negotiation by hooks or crooks. We'll be be giving in like Syria and Egypt, both good friend of the West in the past.


by: Nyarai from: Zimbabwe
July 29, 2013 2:13 PM
I politely call upon non Zimbabweans to leave Zimbabweans to decide whom they want as their President. We have the highest literacy rate in Africa. We know our history very well.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid