Fears of Rigging Hang Over Zimbabwe’s First Post-Mugabe Vote

“We’re preparing and planning for the best, but budgeting for the worst,” MDC leader Nelson Chamisa said in an interview in his office in Harare, the capital. “The worst is obviously a rigged election, a blocked transition, where we have victory but the military or some other force refuses to accept the will of the electorate.”

mnangagwa
©Chronicle.co.zw

Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change is convinced it has enough support to secure an outright win in upcoming elections. It’s less confident it will actually be able to claim power.

The southern African nation that has the world’s biggest platinum reserves after South Africa hasn’t had a peaceful political transition since white-minority rule ended in 1980, and all the votes held since 2000 that handed victory to Robert Mugabe were marred by allegations of rigging and violence.

While Mugabe was forced to quit in November and his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised a free and fair election, the MDC says sweeping reforms are essential to ensure its credibility. “We’re preparing and planning for the best, but budgeting for the worst,” MDC leader Nelson Chamisa said in an interview in his office in Harare, the capital. “The worst is obviously a rigged election, a blocked transition, where we have victory but the military or some other force refuses to accept the will of the electorate.”

A 40-year-old lawyer, Chamisa took control of the MDC after its long-time leader Morgan Tsvangirai succumbed to cancer in February and will contest the presidency against Mnangagwa, 75, a former intelligence chief. The MDC has allied with six smaller opposition parties for the vote, which must be held by Aug. 22.

While the opposition isn’t anticipating a repetition of the numerous murders and rape and arson attacks that marred previous campaigns, it has concerns about controls over the ballot papers, the integrity of the voters’ role and the composition of the National Logistical Commission, which will run the election, according to Chamisa.

Published by

Crimson Tazvinzwa

Teacher and media trainer based in the United Kingdom.

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