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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Mugabe deliver? After election victory, no more free goats or cellphones
Ncube, The Christian Science Monitor
August 29, 2013
View this article
on The Christian Science Monitor website
been isolated and under sanctions for years. Now, weak economy may
force him to promote reforms.
Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party will rule Zimbabwe for an additional
five years is a near certainty now. Although the opposition, led
by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, continues to contest
of the country's July elections, they have found little international
support. Meanwhile President Mugabe is now selecting a cabinet and
preparing to assume the top post in a regional trade organization.
But now that
another Mugabe term seems all but assured, observers are asking
if Mugabe and his party will actually confound expectations and
at least begin to reform a system that has relied heavily on force
to crush dissent, enact anti-democracy laws, and distort fiscal
policies along old black-nationalist lines.
At a grand level,
much is at stake for Zimbabwe, which has been isolated and under
At the retail
level inside Zimbabwe, the end of the election campaign means that
Mugabe can no longer rely on handing out small favors and trinkets
to keep his constituents happy: “The silly season of free
cell phone vouchers, of gallons of scarce cooking oil, and free
goats is over. Promises were made and now they must be kept,”
as the Harare economist and blogger Vince Musewe writes.
Mugabe has been in charge during good times, when Zimbabwe stood
as a lesson of democracy and the bread basket of the whole continent,
shortly after independence in 1980 and in the bad times, as its
political and economic crises led many to rate the nation as the
worst for a country not at war.
Mugabe’s favor: Both the African Union and the Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC) are supporting Mugabe’s line
that his political opponents are a neo-colonial front, and that
only his Zanu-PF party is a true pan-African movement. These two
groups helped guarantee the joint coalition government that Mr.
Tsvangirai served in between 2009 and this winter. They helped bring
peace after the 2008
elections turned bloody, and they have local clout.
much popular outcry, has now been made the deputy chairperson of
SADC. That puts him in line to be the next chairman of the region's
main grouping when his country hosts the SADC summit in 2014. So
enough regional leaders have given his election victory their seal
What that may
mean is what worries many civil society watchers.
has shown us in the 33 years he has been in charge that he is only
committed to power, personal enrichment, and political patronage,”
says Pretoria-based Zimbabwean political analyst, Godfrey Phiri.
Mr. Phiri says
that with the current two-thirds majority in parliament, Zanu-PF
will change the constitution and strike out the few democratic clauses
it had brought in: “Remember that Zanu-PF had suggested 101
changes to the draft constitution, some of which were left out,
but now that they have a majority, they will force those back in….
We are likely to see more repressive legislation being enacted and
the so-called indigenization laws being fast-tracked.”
laws are a further enhancement of Mugabe’s policies to force
white farmers off their land a decade back and to redistribute wealth.
During the election
campaign and shortly after, Mugabe and his allies vowed to expand
indigenization to create majority black ownership of foreign banks
and the lucrative mining concerns in the nation.
policies can be successfully enacted and still create the confidence
necessary to help Zimbabwe economically is very unclear.
held a meeting with the country’s business groups. They advised
that the next government not take a blanket approach to indigenization
concept, and said the policy required more clarity to stimulate
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