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Zimbabwe's electoral preparedness for the 2013 harmonised elections: Ready or not
Zimbabwe Election Support Network
February 22, 2013

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Introduction

Since the installation of the Inclusive Government in 2009, Zimbabwe has been locked in a fragile and uncertain transition but is now at its most critical juncture with decisive elections looming in the next twelve months. The country is in a state of flux because of a number of factors that impinge on the complex situation. This is a delicate and tense state of affairs and bold choices need to be taken by the strategic actors in various decision arenas, principally the domestic and regional domains. But also vitally interested in the Zimbabwe situation are the continental (African Union) and the international communities. This paper is an attempt to understand this fluid condition with a view to recommending actionable interventions that will shepherd the country to a more democratic order as stipulated in its governance compass, the Global Political Agreement (GPA) of September 2008.

In 2011, ZESN produced a position paper entitled "The Zimbabwe Situation: Preparedness for and Conditions for Free and Fair Elections." It lamented "the sad empirical finding in post-2000 Zimbabwe that elections and violence behave like unlike poles: they attract each other." It then posed a question that is still relevant today: "Will this be a self-fulfilling prophecy in the upcoming elections?" Recent survey evidence suggests that Zimbabweans think that the next elections will be definitive and that they will make a difference. The same evidence indicates a reincarnation of March 2008 electoral outcomes i.e. a hung parliament and a second round presidential election. Further, the public mood shows that though the country is not entirely ripe for the upcoming critical elections in 2013, the conditions for them are now significantly better than they were in mid-2010 to early 2011 and certainly profoundly better than the run-up to the June 2008 elections.

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