The road to Zimbabwe’s 2018 election

President Emerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is a notorious figure in the politics of Zimbabwe. Commonly referred to as the ‘Crocodile’, he is known for his infamous political cunning.

Yet, the landscape appears to be changing. Having recently vowed to hold free and fair elections, he promises the citizens of Zimbabwe a better economy and foreign policy drive, if elected on 30th July. Even so, whilst Mnangagwa is confident that the elections will be fair, many have disputed this will be the case, citing Zanu-PF’s previous association with violence during elections. His main rival is Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who has started gaining support in Zanu-PF’s rural strongholds.

Chamisa believes that Mnangagwa does not have the ability to match the zeal and enthusiasm of the young people of Zimbabwe. In an exclusive interview with DW.com, the opposition leader stated that “Time is up for a particular generation”. In numerous interviews, Chamisa continues to make clear his belief that age will give him the advantage during these elections. Yet, even with his eighteen years in politics, many people still question whether this “youth ticket” will be enough to be up against the experienced and distinguished Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa too questions whether Chamisa is much of an opposition. Indeed, according to New Zimbabwe.com, he describes the opposition party as “barking puppies”, and has been quoted saying that “Zanu-PF is in power”.

He added: “Let it be known that nothing will change in this country even if we go for elections because people will vote for our party.” Elections on July 30 belong to Zanu-PF. We dictate what happens in this country. We already have an upper hand and the elections have been won already by us. Let those who want to argue do so, but just vote for Zanu-PF,”

What do the people of Zimbabwe have to say?

The months of July and August will be crucial for Zimbabwean millennials. It is said by the content creator and YouTuber, Pardon Gambakwe, that it is the “middle age citizens who suffer the most” when it comes to economic and social issues in Zimbabwe, and they want serious change.

Journalist Linda Mujuru argues that the opposition is “too weak to challenge Mnangagwa”. Chamisa’s past battle with Vice-President Thokozani Khupe over the leadership of the MDC-T has led people to speculate about a lack of organisation and unity within his party.

Yet, Joel Mutsindikwa believes that “Chamisa is the only way forward when we are about to rebound our economy”. He added: “I would rather vote for a dreamer than a Mugabe’s former right-hand man. We are in a deep economic shambles because of Zanu-PF. ” On the other hand, Noble Ngara has suggested that “it is better to vote for a guy who is doing a great job of fixing his mistakes than a guy who is not even mature enough to realise that he is heading for bigger blunders than Bob.”

Although many remain uncertain as to which candidate will take presidential office, Britain is said to support of Mnangagwa. The basis of its backing has been clear for the past few months- if the election is free, fair and credible. Indeed, during the Commonwealth Heads of government meeting, the UK government reiterated that the restoration of “democracy and human rights” must occur in Zimbabwe before any engagement is made with the country. Rather interestingly, many believe that Britain’s endorsement has stemmed from a desire to achieve foreign policy success, especially in light of the current Brexit storm. 

With just over a month to go now until polling day, the prospect of a progressive and democratic Zimbabwe may just be on the horizon.

 

 

 

 

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