Zimbabwe

‘Our nation is now trapped in a cycle of terror and unrest. Armed soldiers are a fixture on the streets, manning roadblocks and fuel stations.’ A military patrol in Harare. Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Like the fleeting blossom of Jacaranda trees in spring, faith in the government of Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has waned, following another round of state violence towards unarmed citizens.

A Harare woman wounded in the leg by a close-range gunshot from a soldier’s gun is ferried in a wheelbarrow to seek medical help. Elsewhere in the capital, a young footballer is killed for standing outside his home – his sole crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. These days, on the streets of Harare, an unnatural silence and fear have displaced the wild cheers of celebration that accompanied the 2017 resignation of Robert Mugabe as president.…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters of Martin Fayulu chant slogans and carry placards as he delivers his appeal contesting the CENI results of the presidential election at the constitutional court in Kinshasa, on 12 January 2019. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe

A dispute over the results of the DR Congo’s 30 December election cast a dark shadow over what should be a historic transition of power but a surprisingly robust reaction by regional actors offers a genuine chance for a course correction. According to official tallies, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was the winner, but these stood in stark contrast to a parallel count by Congolese Catholic Church observers, which indicated a landslide for Martin Fayulu, another opposition leader. Data leaked from sources within the electoral authorities confirm the church’s figures, strongly suggesting an effort to rig the vote in favour of the opposition candidate more palatable to incumbent President Kabila and his allies.…  Seguir leyendo »

Angry protesters barricade the main route to Zimbabwe's capital Harare from Epworth township after the government announced a hike in fuel prices, on 14 January 2019. AFP/Jekesai Njikizana

What triggered this explosion of unrest?

On 12 January, in response to persistent fuel shortages compounded by manipulation and mismanagement of a currency crisis, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a fuel price hike of over 200 per cent to $3.31 per litre – making the country’s petrol price the highest in the world. It is unclear how this move would address the shortages, outside of pricing fuel out of the reach of many; already, the knock-on effects of transport and commodity price increases are adding evident stress to ordinary Zimbabweans’ lives.

The massive rise sparked a general strike, along with widespread protests, which in many areas was characterised by violence and considerable destruction of property.…  Seguir leyendo »

A family member of Kelvin Tinashe Choto reacts during his funeral in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe, on Saturday. He was killed in a violent crackdown by security forces on protests. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

More than a year after the ousting of long-serving President Robert Mugabe in a military coup, and six months after the election of new President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe is once more in crisis. Security forces have cracked down brutally on large-scale protests, leaving at least 12 dead, hundreds injured and more than 600 detained. To resolve the crisis, leaders in Zimbabwe, the region and internationally will have to look beyond the artificially constrained choices of the past.

A massive increase in the price of fuel triggered the latest upheaval. Citizens deeply frustrated by the ongoing currency crisis, shortages of critical items such as medical supplies and the absence of real economic progress took to the streets in protest last week.…  Seguir leyendo »

Soldiers patrolled as people gathered in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Tuesday to protest a steep increase in fuel prices.CreditCreditTsvangirayi Mukwazhi/Associated Press

After replacing Robert Mugabe as the president of Zimbabwe in late 2017, Emmerson Mnangagwa promised a “new” Zimbabwe, a country with “a thriving and open economy, jobs for its youth, opportunities for investors and democracy and equal rights for all.” But those hopes have died as Mr. Mnangagwa has turned out to be no different from the strongman he served for decades and eventually deposed.

On Sunday, Mr. Mnangagwa announced a more than 150 percent increase in the fuel price. In response, the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions and the prominent civil society leader Pastor Evan Mawarire called for a three-day strike starting Monday against the increasing fuel price and worsening economic conditions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 26. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Nearly a year ago, on Nov. 21, the Zimbabwean armed forces toppled Robert Mugabe after a week of attempts to coerce him to resign from the presidency. The coup surprised many observers, as the armed forces had long supported Mugabe’s tenure. Afterward, the coup plotters tried to convince observers, both at home and internationally, that it wasn’t in fact a coup. Rather, their aim was to fix what they saw as Zimbabwe’s deteriorating political, social and economic conditions — or so they tried to persuade the world. For instance, soon after taking power in December, the new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, promised “free and fair” elections in “four to five months.”

Sometimes coups can lead to democracy (but don’t try this at home)

Some observers did indeed hope that Zimbabwe was on the cusp of real democracy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Zimbabwean anti-riot police officers at the Rainbow Towers where the election’s results were announced, as supporters of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), protest against alleged widespread fraud by the election authority and ruling party, in Harare, on August 1, 2018.CreditCreditLuis Tato/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The old guns have retained power in Zimbabwe. On Friday the country’s constitutional court confirmed Emmerson Mnangagwa, the leader of the incumbent Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, as the president after rejecting a legal challenge by the leading opposition party seeking the annulment of the results of the country’s July 30 election.

According to the official results, the incumbent ZANU-PF led by Mr. Mnangagwa narrowly won the elections — the first after the fall of Robert Mugabe — with 50.8 percent of the vote, and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa won 44.3 percent of the vote.…  Seguir leyendo »

Opposition supporters burn posters of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa while protesting election results in Harare on Aug. 1. (AP)

On July 30, for the first time since 1980, Zimbabwe held general elections without Robert Mugabe on the ballot. Many Western donor countries have had sanctions on Zimbabwe since 2002 because of the government’s political repression and human rights abuses — and promised to lift these once the country held free and fair elections.

But free and fair do not appear to apply. Officially, President Emmerson Mnangagwa — a former Mugabe lieutenant who grabbed power in a November 2017 coup — won with 50.8 percent of the vote, narrowly avoiding a runoff election. And his ruling ZANU-PF party won a two-thirds majority of 149 seats in parliament’s lower house, permitting it to amend the constitution at will.…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters of the newly reelected Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa celebrate in Mbare, Harare, on 3 August 2018. MARCO LONGARI / AFP

The Zimbabwean government posited that the first elections after the November 2017 ouster of Robert Mugabe would enhance the state’s credibility and strengthen the country’s prospects for economic recovery. Voters responded in kind, heading to the polls in unprecedented numbers. The results, however, confirmed that the country is deeply divided, with the opposition contesting the electoral commission’s determination that Emmerson Mnangagwa won the presidency. Several parliamentary challenges are also underway in separate petitions. The opposition is accusing the electoral commission of bias and fraud in its legal petition to overturn the election results. The Constitutional Court is expected to announce its judgment in the case later in August.…  Seguir leyendo »

People queue in order to cast their ballot outside a polling station located in the suburb of Mbare in Zimbabwe's capital Harare, on 30 July 2018. Photo: Luis Tato/AFP/Getty Images.

Before Zimbabwe’s general election on 30 July, there was a lot of talk about there being ‘landmark change’ and ‘credibility.’ But in many ways it was déjà vu. President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling ZANU-PF party won the parliamentary vote, taking a majority 144 seats out of 210. The opposition MDC Alliance, a seven-party coalition led by Nelson Chamisa, won 64 seats—an improvement on their 2013 showing of 44 seats, but still falling far short of expectations.

The presidential results were much closer. After clashes on Wednesday, the incumbent Mnangagwa was declared winner early Friday morning, taking 50.8 per cent of the vote against Chamisa’s 44.3 per cent.…  Seguir leyendo »

Zimbabwean voters line up before dawn Monday to cast their ballots in the country’s general elections in Harare. (Reuters)

Over 5 million Zimbabweans have registered to vote in Monday’s elections. The majority of registrants, 60 percent, are under the age of 40.

This is Zimbabwe’s first election since the ouster of long-term leader Robert Mugabe last November and the death of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February. Mugabe broke his silence on the eve of the election and said he will not vote for those who tormented him.

Voters will choose from 55 registered parties to elect their president and members of the Senate and National Assembly. Should a presidential runoff election be necessary (to meet the majority threshold), it will be held Sept.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman walks past election posters in Harare, Zimbabwe, 19 July, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

What’s so important about the credibility of these polls?

On 30 July 2018 Zimbabweans will go to the polls to elect a president, parliamentarians and local councillors. The elections are an unprecedented opportunity for Zimbabweans to choose who they believe can deliver economic recovery after decades of violent, predatory and authoritarian rule by former President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). This will be the first vote since a Very Peculiar Coup in November 2017 ousted Mugabe and made way for President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a 75-year-old ZANU-PF stalwart. Mnangagwa is contesting the election on pledges of reform and economic recovery.…  Seguir leyendo »

Injured people are attended to after an explosion at a Zanu PF rally in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on June 23. (AP)

Zimbabweans head to the polls on July 30, in the first presidential election since the ouster of President Robert Mugabe last year. Until a week ago, Zimbabwe’s presidential campaigning had been relatively peaceful, with the exception of some violence reported during the party primary elections.

That changed abruptly on June 23, when Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s new president, survived a grenade blast at a political rally in Bulawayo, the country’s second-largest city. The president’s office announced on June 26 that two people died from injuries sustained during the attack, while 49 others remained in the hospital.

This was the first time Zimbabwe had seen a direct attack on the life of the sitting president.…  Seguir leyendo »

Vehicles display the campaign logos for both the ruling and opposition parties outside an election nomination court in Harare, Zimbabwe on June 14. (Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters)

The June 23 explosion at a campaign rally that killed two people and injured dozens came as a shock to all Zimbabweans. This hideous attack was condemned by citizens across the political spectrum. This response shows our nation’s resilience, our yearning for peace and our common determination to restore democracy. Indeed, over the next few weeks, our beloved nation has a real opportunity to finally steer toward freedom and prosperity for all.

Our goals for restoring democracy nevertheless remain under threat by the remnants of dictatorship, their propagandists and enablers, both at home and abroad. Our upcoming election on July 30 cannot be a whitewash of democracy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union’s youth league were addressed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on March 7 in the capital, Harare. Credit Aaron Ufumeli/Epa-Efe/Rex/Shutterstock/Aaron Ufumeli/Epa-Efe/Rex/Shutterstock

In November, the Zimbabwean people, led by our youth, went to the streets peacefully and joyfully, determined to have their voices heard. They called for freedom, progress and a new way of doing things. Though supported by the military, this was a popular, peaceful revolution. Watching the events unfold from exile, I was deeply proud of my fellow Zimbabweans.

In a major turning point in our history, President Robert Mugabe resigned and the first transition of power in 37 years followed. On Nov. 24, I took office as the new president of Zimbabwe. In the past three months, I have heard the call of my people.…  Seguir leyendo »

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 at the World Economic Forum, Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, declared: “Zimbabwe is now open for business.” Mnangagwa’s appearance in Davos, Switzerland, was a first for his country, which had been ruled by Robert Mugabe since independence in 1980. Now, following Zimbawe’s apparent change of leadership last year, many in the international community are eager to invest. The United States and other longtime supporters of Zimbabwe’s democratic forces should not, however, fall for a poorly veiled charade of a military junta.

The rush to assist a country as it emerges from the clutches of a brutal dictator is understandable, even praiseworthy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Zimbabwe African National Union — Patriotic Front, or (ZANU-PF), is convening a party congress. Typically held once every four years, Thursday’s event will bring together nearly 6,000 officials from all levels of the party.

The congress comes in the wake of last month’s military intervention in Zimbabwe, which forced president Robert Mugabe’s resignation after 37 years in power. Crowds poured into the street to cheer the end of Mugabe’s rule. Yet Mugabe’s replacement, former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, is a regime insider. He has since announced a Cabinet composed of ruling party loyalists and several military officials.

To understand these events, it is useful to pay attention to one factor that differentiates Zimbabwe from most of Africa’s authoritarian regimes: a powerful and well-institutionalized ruling party.…  Seguir leyendo »

The fall of Robert Mugabe has dominated global coverage of Africa over the past few weeks. In Western coverage of the first week after the coup in Zimbabwe there was speculation about what China knew beforehand and whether Beijing played an active role in pushing for it.

China’s mention drowned out other notable external stakeholders such as the UK, the US, South Africa, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU). And it almost threatened to overshadow the domestic dynamics that led to the changeover.

There are reasons to draw a direct parallel between China and the recent events in Zimbabwe.…  Seguir leyendo »

Crisis Group’s recent publications on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including our 4 December 2017 report, examine the crisis provoked by President Joseph Kabila’s determination to hold onto power and repeatedly delayed elections. The DRC is only one of three African countries we cover whose future course could depend in part on the holding of credible elections: one vote past, in Kenya; one future, Zimbabwe’s 2018 polls; and one deferred, in the DRC.

These polls have had – or will have – important implications for democracy and stability not only in the three countries themselves but for the region as a whole.…  Seguir leyendo »