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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Zim poll heads for run-off
Mail and Guardian (SA)
July 26, 2013
With less than
a week before Zimbabwe’s general elections, public opinion
surveys and unfolding campaigns show that President Robert Mugabe
and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are neck and neck, which is
heightening the possibility of a run-off poll.
support emerging from the ongoing campaigns and rallies and recent
surveys by Freedom House and Afrobarometer show that next
week’s elections will be a close call for the Zanu-PF
party against the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T).
Judging by the
political rallies, Mugabe and Tsvangirai have held across the country,
the former is dominant in the three Mashonaland provinces, and the
latter is influential in towns and cities, which include the capital
Harare and Bulawayo.
star rallies have attracted huge crowds, his forays into Harare,
Manicaland and Matabeleland are unlikely to dislodge Tsvangirai’s
dominance there. Mugabe still has a grip on Midlands Province, but
Masvingo will be the battleground.
show that voting patterns and trends in the next elections will
not dramatically change from those of the 2008 polls.
During the first
round of polling in the 2008
presidential election, which was deemed relatively free and
fair, Mugabe lost to Tsvangirai by 43.24% to 47.87%.
lost the first round of voting to Tsvangirai in 2008, he won six
out of 10 provinces. Tsvangirai only won four, but with huge numbers.
Mugabe won in
Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Masvingo,
Midlands and Matabeleland South, and Tsvangirai got Harare, Bulawayo,
Manicaland and Matabeleland North. In terms of votes, Tsvangirai
got 1 195 562 votes and Mugabe 1 079 730 - meaning the MDC-T leader
won by 115 832 votes.
to Afrobarometer, 32% of the 2 400 Zimbabweans it sampled said,
if an election had been called last year, they would have voted
for Mugabe, whereas 31% said they would support Tsvangirai.
Leader of the
smaller breakaway MDC party, Welshman Ncube, had 1% of the vote,
although his party in the 2008 election won the most seats in Matabeleland
South. Simba Makoni, who was also its candidate of choice, got 8.31%
of the vote. Ncube has gained some traction and could emerge as
election in Zimbabwe remains too close a call,” Afrobarometer
said. “No political party in Zimbabwe can afford to be complacent
about an easy victory.”
also said Mugabe and Tsvangirai might not win the presidential election
outright in the first round, and suggests that another run-off is
likely, although Mugabe would want to win the first round outright
to avoid going up against a possible coalition between Tsvangirai
and Ncube in the run-off.
and MDC-T tied
In terms of
party support, the survey said Zanu-PF and the MDC-T were tied with
31% each. In a similar survey in 2008, the MDC-T enjoyed a 57% support
base, and Zanu-PF had 10%.
House survey concluded “that in terms of the declared
survey-based support, it appears the MDC-T has been suffering a
decline in support, falling from 38% to 20% in the parliamentary
vote from 2010 to 2012, in a period of about 18 months”.
the survey data point to Zanu-PF having experienced a growth in
popular support, moving from 17% to 31% in the same period.”
The voting patterns
in the parliamentary elections are also unlikely to change as rallies
show that Zanu-PF and the MDC-T are holding fast in their strongholds.
In 2008, the
MDC-T won all the seats in Bulawayo, 96.55% of the seats in Harare
and 76.92% in Manicaland. In Masvingo, it managed to win 53.85%
of the seats and in Matabeleland North, 38.46%. The party fared
poorly in Mashonaland Central (11.11%), in Matabeleland South (16.67%),
in Mashonaland East (17.39%), in Midlands (25.93%) and in Mashonaland
88.89% of the seats in Mashonaland Central, 82.61% in Mashonaland
East, 74.07% in Midlands and 72.73% in Mashonaland West. In Masvingo,
it won 46.15% of the seats and in Matabeleland North it took 30.77%.
The party made
a poor showing in Bulawayo, where it won no seats, as well as in
Harare with only 3.45%, in Manicaland (23.08%) and in Matabeleland
The MDC only
won seats in Matabeleland South (58.33%) and Matabeleland North
The 103 independent
candidates fared badly. Jonathan Moyo, who has rejoined Zanu-PF,
retained his Tsholotsho North seat in Matabeleland North. Other
independents failed to win any seats in 2008. Their situation is
unlikely to change much.
say there could be a winner in the first round. Zimbabwe Democracy
Institute director Pedzisai Ruhanya said Tsvangirai was likely to
attended and observed the presidential election campaigns between
the main political protagonists, Mugabe and Tsvangirai, and taking
into account the political environment and electoral administrative
factors, my interpretation of events is Tsvangirai will win.
are critical observations of the electoral process that have assisted
my conclusion of a victory for Tsvangirai in this decisive election.The
political environment in the run-up to the election is similar,
if not much better than the March
29 2008 poll in which the MDC parties won the presidential and
parliamentary elections respectively. This has helped Tsvangirai
to traverse the breadth and width of the country campaigning.”
Ruhanya said Mugabe was struggling on the campaign trail and has
no message about the future, something Ruhanya thinks will lead
to his defeat next week.
commentator Ernest Mudzengi said, although Tsvangirai has the support
on the ground, it was difficult to predict the outcome, given that
Mugabe controls the electoral institutions.
has the numbers on the ground and at any given time he can defeat
Mugabe in a free and fair election,” Mudzengi said.
it is difficult to predict now that the playing field is not level
because Mugabe and Zanu-PF control the electoral machinery, which
in the past has worked to their advantage.”
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