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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.