Chipo Dendere

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Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai died Feb. 14, after a long battle with cancer. Together with other working-class Zimbabweans, Tsvangirai founded Zimbabwe’s largest opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Tsvangirai’s death comes during an important transition in Zimbabwe’s national politics. It was only a couple of months ago that Robert Mugabe left the presidency after nearly 40 years of ruling Zimbabwe.

What does Tsvangirai’s death mean for the MDC and the opposition more broadly — especially in this time of great political change in Zimbabwe? Here’s what you need to know.

Once strong, Zimbabwe’s opposition is fractured

The MDC handed the ruling party, ZANU PF, its first electoral defeat in 2000, when Zimbabweans voted no on a constitutional referendum initiated by ZANU PF.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last week, Zimbabwe’s military took control of the government, it said, to clean out the “criminals” around the president. On Saturday, war veterans organized a citizen’s march that saw nearly 1 million Zimbabweans out in the streets demanding President Robert Mugabe step down. On Sunday, Mugabe was officially fired by his party, ZANU-PF, along with his wife, Grace, and other officials allied with the pair in the party’s factional dispute.

But not until Tuesday did the president finally resign.

Why did it take so long? Part of the explanation can be found in Zimbabwe’s constitutional and institutional design.

Even an authoritarian government can follow a constitution

Zimbabwe has not functioned like a democracy for a long time.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Zimbabwe, the military has taken control of the capital Harare, with tanks and troops stationed around the city. Its army generals officially announced around 4 a.m. local time on Wednesday that President Robert Mugabe and his family “are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.”

While Gen. Constantine Chiwenga insists it is not a military takeover, “safe and secure,” for those of us who study African politics, is also code for secured. This effectively means that the first family is now under some type of arrest and those closest to first lady Grace Mugabe, who until the takeover appeared to be in charge in the ruling party, have been arrested for attempting to recolonize the country and undermining the revolution.…  Seguir leyendo »