The End of a Road: The 2013 Elections in Zimbabwe

2013 MDC-T campaign poster

A battered campaign poster for Presidential hopeful, Morgan Tsvangirai, in an election that left the opposition bruised and disempowered

‘It’s a paralyzing election result to every one, the future is bleak. They will continue to fill their bellies, while we suffers.’   [Old man, Lupane]

‘I am glad that ZANU PF has won – they have promised us that we can own factories now, so I am waiting to be given part of a factory.’  [Young man, Tsholotsho South]

The 2013 election marked the end of the five-year Inclusive Government in Zimbabwe. The result astounded many, with ZANU PF winning almost 80% of the parliamentary seats. The MDC-T immediately cried foul, citing a host of irregularities including the impact of memories of the violence of 2008, fuelled by ZANU PF threats, and the numbers of voters who were forced to make ‘assisted’ votes, effectively denying them a confidential vote. The shadowy role played by Israeli polling experts remains at the centre of debate.

This report reviews the main political events of the last five years, in particular the constitutional reform process and the continued mediation of SADC. The shift in socio-economic landscape to benefit and entrench ZANU PF is outlined as a key element in their recent election win, as they have moved to embrace and control the peri-urban areas and the informal mining sector with a combination of repressive coercion and material benefits.

The second half of the report evaluates in detail the figures from this election, highlighting: the impact of the split vote; the high numbers of voters turned away, especially in Harare; assisted voting; and the falling vote in the three Matabeleland provinces generally.  The report sees a bleak future for the opposition parties, unless they restrategise in recognition of the changed electoral landscape.

It is fair to conclude that the politics of the opposition, both party and civic, that emerged in the late 1990s and continued through the first 13 years of the 2000s has come to an end in its current form. The political and economic conditions that gave rise to its emergence have changed substantially, even if the challenges facing the country remain Herculean. For ZANU PF the major task ahead is to deliver on its election manifesto in the face of enormous odds. This will most likely give rise to new battles within the ruling party and provide new opportunities for the emergence of critical voices. The battle for a broader democratization continues.

Rights reserved: Please credit the Solidarity Peace Trust as the original source for this material republished on other websites. Please provide a link back to for this report

This article can be cited in other publications as follows: Solidarity Peace Trust (2013) The End of a Road: The 2013 Elections in Zimbabwe. Durban: Solidarity Peace Trust

The End of a Road: The 2013 Elections in Zimbabwe
The End of a Road: The 2013 Elections in Zimbabwe
The End of A Road final version.pdf
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Sun, October 6 2013 » 2013, Elections, Reports

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