It will be hard for democratic countries to embrace Mnangagwa as someone different to Mugabe

General Chiwenga helped engineer a coup that finally toppled Robert Mugabe

The Telegraph

Op-ed by David Coltart

4th August 2018

When Robert Mugabe was removed from power in the November 2017 coup I wrote that whilst a tyrant had been removed, we had yet to remove a tyranny.

Emmerson Mnangagwa impressed me with his rhetoric when he took over as president. He spoke of a commitment to democracy, a zero tolerance to corruption, being open for business and that he would ensure free, fair and credible elections.

I was so impressed that I expressed the hope that he would be a Gorbachev rather than a Milosevic in a New Year’s message.

In the eight months since taking power the gulf between Mr Mnangagwa’s rhetoric and action has become increasingly apparent. And in the realm of democracy and the holding of credible elections, he has been found wanting.

He appointed an overtly partisan judge to head the Electoral Commission in February and since then the Commission has committed serial breaches of the Constitution and Electoral Act.

Whilst election day went smoothly and peacefully the moment the polls closed old tricks were reemployed. In one province only 105,000 people had voted between 7am and 5pm, but remarkably a further 375,000 pitched up to vote in the remaining two hours of polling.

In another province a further 10,100 voters suddenly appeared on a new voters roll illegally produced by the Commission just days before the poll.

All of this gave Mr Mnangagwa the narrow 0.8 per cent margin (some 38,000 votes) he needed to avoid a run off against Nelson Chamisa, who overcame tremendous odds to get even close.

Mr Chamisa took over a moribund MDC when Morgan Tsvangirai died in February and in a short time has totally transformed the party. By the end of his energetic campaign his rallies were attracting tens of thousands of people. On voting day he secured over a million more votes than Tsvangirai obtained in 2013.

Mr Chamisa’s defeat has shattered the hopes of young people who comprised the bulk of his support base. On Wednesday young men, sensing a fraud being perpetrated, protested. It turned violent when Zanu PF property was attacked.

Whilst the police could and should have dealt with the situation, Mr Mnangagwa (the only person constitutionally able) deployed soldiers, clearly with orders to shoot to kill with live bullets in central Harare. Six people, nearly all innocent bystanders, some women running away, were killed, another score seriously injured.

Any pretence that there is a “new dispensation” has been shattered in that one act.

Mr Mnangagwa had two objectives this year: he had to win an election and establish his legitimacy after the coup which he benefitted from. He has now won the election, but under such a cloud that it will be hard for democratic countries to embrace him as someone different to Mr Mugabe. Indeed he now bears the marks of a Milosovic, not a Gorbachev.

But Zimbabwe must not be allowed to wallow further. The international community should insist that compliance with Zimbabwe’s constitution be a prerequisite for further engagement.

Amongst other things that means the military must be returned to their barracks, the media opened up and basic civil liberties respected.

Zanu PF have won, by hook or by crook, the two thirds majority needed to change the Constitution as they please. Zimbabwe’s constitution, adopted by a 95 per cent majority in the 2013 referendum, enjoys the will of the people; Zanu PF should be told unequivocally that moves to dilute the democratic provisions in the constitution will be met by continued international isolation.

A carrot and stick approach should be adopted. If the Constitution is respected and implemented in all its fullness, then further engagement can proceed, but not before.

Mr Chamisa must be encouraged to remain committed to using the law and non-violent means to make his case before the court of international opinion.

Mr Chamisa has already confirmed that the MDC will use all legal and constitutional means to overturn this fraudulent result. The problem we face is that any electoral challenge will be brought before a partisan judiciary which has a notorious history of siding with Zanu PF. Accordingly the international community must insist on a demonstrably fair process before neutral judges (Zimbabwe has them) and provide observers to any such legal challenge.

Zimbabwe remains a country of enormous potential and opportunity, but that will remain illusory until democracy and the rule of law is respected by all Zimbabweans and the international community.

Senator David Coltart was a founder of the Movement for Democratic Change and Zimbabwean Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture 2009-2013. He is he author of “The Struggle Continues: 50 years of tyranny in Zimbabwe”

Zimbabwe election: Ruling party Zanu-PF wins majority seats in parliament 

Zimbabwe’s ruling party Zanu-PF has won the majority of seats in parliament, the electoral commission said on Wednesday.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu-PF won 109 seats against 41 for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Another 58 seats are yet to be declared, but it is now impossible for the opposition MDC to win a majority in parliament.

A resident checks on some preliminary results of harmonised elections Harare, Zimbabwe EPA

In the first election since former president Robert Mugabe was ousted from office by a quiet coup, Wednesday’s results show there is strong support for the party which has dominated politics in Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.

The results of the presidential election, which is a separate contest, pitting Zanu-PF’s Emmerson Mnangagwa against MDC’s Nelson Chamisa, are yet to be declared, but the parliamentary results bode well for Mr Mnangagwa.

The results of the presidential race expected on August 4.zim-army


Read more:

Zimbabwe votes for first time without Robert Mugabe on ballot

Zimbabwe goes to the polls – in pictures

The MDC won in most urban centres, where it enjoys majority support.

The MDC accused the election commission on Tuesday of deliberately delaying results of this week’s vote to favour the ruling party, reporting irregularities in the first poll since the removal of Robert Mugabe in a bloodless November coup.

Even though the election passed off peacefully, several water cannon trucks patrolled outside the central Harare headquarters of the MDC as its red-shirted supporters danced in the streets

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party has won the majority of seats in Parliament, says the electoral commission

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party has won the majority of seats in Parliament, says the electoral commissio

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party has won the majority of seats in Parliament, says the electoral commission.

How Chamisa lost the elections

How Chamisa lost the electionsRather than present himself as an agent of change, Nelson Chamisa has got into bed with Robert and Grace Mugabe who wrecked and ruined Zimbabwe for so many years

Jealousy Dutiro Correspondent
IF you were looking for the perfect candidate to run in an election after over three decades of undemocratic rule to replace a dictator who is 94 years, you would probably assume that someone young, energetic and charismatic would create a great attraction come election time.

However, the reality of Nelson Chamisa has been very different from the theory of Nelson Chamisa.
Since the moment he took power upon Morgan Tsvangirai’s passing, rather than unifying the MDC-T after the loss of their enigmatic leader, Chamisa tried to alienate anyone he perceived as a threat.

He was divisive when he should have been a unifier, using his paramilitary bully-boys The Vanguard to intimidate any and all dissent within the party.

When he became leader of the MDC Alliance, he did everything possible to anger his allies by fielding opposing candidates when there had been an express agreement not to do so.

At almost every rally, event or interview, he lied, exaggerated or embellished the truth. Whether it was about money promised by US President Donald Trump, impossibly-fast speed trains, claiming to be behind Rwandan ICT policy or about Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo’s knobkerrie, the MDC leader just couldn’t seem to stop himself from veering further and further away from the truth.

Chamisa’s sexist and misogynistic attitudes have put off women by the droves. He has spoken about women as no better than property, like when he offered his sister in a bet, spoken about how he will confine his wife to the home and how he can bed any woman he wishes. These attitudes have demonstrated, perhaps more than anything else, that one’s physical age has little bearing on outdated and prehistoric attitudes.

He has never once called for the lifting of sanctions and has even said he will chase away any foreign investment into Zimbabwe for the benefit of the people. Chamisa always seemed to put his political career ahead of his country and its people.

However, his worst sins that have arisen in the last couple of months have sent him deep into the unelectable category.
Firstly, while he has tried to paint himself as a friend and advocate of the workers, he has never accounted for his role in the Zuva Petroleum case from 2015, where he worked for big wealthy businesses against the common worker and his direct involvement in the case on behalf of Zuva led to the unfair and illegitimate dismissal of tens of thousands of Zimbabwean workers.

When the issue arose, rather than apologise and make a proper accounting of his role, he chose to inflict more pain on all those families that still suffer to this day from this episode by ignoring or belittling their struggles.

However, probably the greatest hemorrhage of support has come from his relationship with Robert and Grace Mugabe.
Rather than present himself as an agent of change, he has got into bed with the couple who wrecked and ruined Zimbabwe for so many years.

The people took to the streets last November to rid our country of this couple and Chamisa, perhaps out of desperation for money, votes, or both, has now provided them a back door back into power.
This is the greatest nightmare of almost every single Zimbabwean.

Chamisa’s judgment, which was questioned in previous elections, has shown to be sorely lacking, and early sympathy and expectation has been dramatically dampened by such a flawed candidate who didn’t appear to be able to put a single foot right.

Chamisa and his people will continue to claim that they have tremendous support, but even hardcore MDC supporters are admitting the truth, that Chamisa stole defeat from the jaws of victory.

The MDC thought they had everything they needed to finally assume power in Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, they did not count on a candidate who alienated vast swathes of potential voters, showed himself so inept on the national and international stage and kept plunging from crisis to crisis during his short but error-laden leadership.

When the MDC loses even more ground to Zanu-PF in yesterday’s historic elections, they will only have one man to thank, their president, Nelson Chamisa.

“We Will Cross The GNU Bridge When We get There,” Mwonzora.

A GOVERNMENT of national unity (GNU) could be determined by margins of the win in today’s elections, MDC Alliance secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora has said.

Robert Mugabe Press Conference

Mwonzora, who was responding to senior project leader in the Justice and Peace-building programme to explain if his party would accept a GNU, said it will be determined by whether it is of strategic value to Zimbabwe.

Speaking during a Mass Public Opinion Institute discussion at a Harare hotel last Thursday, which discussed today’s elections, Mwonzora said Zimbabweans must be positive that opposition parties could bring forth more development to the country.

“On the issue of a GNU, I would like to say that we will cross the bridge when we get there because a lot of factors will have to be considered like the margin of the win and the strategic value of the GNU,” Mwonzora said.

“Of course, you are right that overwhelmingly Zimbabweans want a GNU, and they reason using empirical evidence, whereby the GNU was the only government they experienced which brought positive things.

“So Zimbabweans will think about the Rhodesian Ian Smith government, the Zanu PF government under former President Robert Mugabe and President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the GNU which they know as the best government after independence,” he said.

However, Mwonzora said there could be a better government after the GNU because no other political party, other than Zanu PF has ever been in government.

“People do not know that there could be a better government run by people with new ideas, new credibility – and maybe that government will be far much better than the GNU. We are going to consider what will be in the best interest of our nation and our country,” he said.

“If it is necessary to co-opt with Zanu PF in government, then we will do that if it is in the best interests of our country.”

Mugabe property ‘vandalised’ as poll pressure heats up


Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe looks on during a press conference at his private residence nicknamed "Blue Roof" in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 29, 2018.
Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe looks on during a press conference at his private residence nicknamed “Blue Roof” in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 29, 2018. 
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko


Tensions were high in Zimbabwe on Monday after former president Robert Mugabe announced on Sunday that he would not be voting for the ruling Zanu-PF.

An ally claimed that state security assigned to Mugabe at his private residence was withdrawn after the press conference and that soldiers had vandalised his property.

At his home on Sunday‚ Mugabe announced that he would not cast a vote for the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Jealousy Mawarire‚ who coordinated the press conference and also speaks for the Mugabe-backed National Patriotic Front‚ a political party formed in March this year‚ said the security was withdrawn in response to the press conference.mugabe

The briefing was beamed live by some regional and international news organisations‚ on the eve of the first election that Mugabe will not participate in post-independence. The soldiers who guarded the property had left the accommodation they used severely damaged‚ he claimed.

“Bulbs‚ electricity switches and anything that made the house habitable was vandalised. The leader of the nine soldiers dumped keys to the house at Mugabe’s reception and told the receptionist they had been ordered off the premises because of the press conference. Only two police officers remain‚” Mawarire said in a statement.

Zanu-PF’s presidential candidate in Monday’s election is Emmerson Mnangagwa‚ his former deputy president. Mnangagwa is in a neck-and-neck contest with Nelson Chamisa‚ the leader of the MDC Alliance‚ for the country’s top job.

The 94-year-old Mugabe is expected to cast his vote at Mhofu Primary School in Highfield.

Mugabe hinted that his support in the election was for Chamisa‚ who he said appeared to be doing well‚ judging by the turnout at his rallies. Chamisa has held around 80 rallies over the last few months in rural and urban areas.ugabe press conferencemugabdr

In response to Mugabe’s comments on dumping the ruling party‚ a video of Mnangagwa was widely shared on social media platforms in which he said it was clear that Mugabe was plotting a return to power under Chamisa. An audio clip was also aired on national radio.

“The choice is clear‚ you vote for Mugabe under the guise of Chamisa or you vote for a new Zimbabwe under my leadership‚” Mnangagwa said in a brief message.

Meanwhile‚ the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said it had reported Chamisa to the police for failing to adhere to a law that bans election campaigning 24 hours before voting day.

Flanked by his lawyer‚ Thabani Mpofu‚ and spokesman Nkululeko Sibanda‚ Chamisa said at a press briefing held at the Meikles Hotel on Sunday that he would not lose the election and accepted the support from Mugabe‚ saying he needed every vote to win.

Utoile Silaigwana‚ the ZEC acting chief elections officer‚ condemned Chamisa for violating the law by holding a press briefing and said he had since been reported to the police.

“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has noted with concern the violation of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] by one of the candidates contesting in the 2018 Harmonised Elections. Clause 7 (1)(b) of the Code of Conduct for political parties and candidates and other stakeholders provides as follows: (1) No political party or candidate may‚ from midnight 24 hours before polling day in any election or referendum until polling stations are closed on that day publish‚ or cause or permit the publication‚ of any advertisement or statement promoting or opposing a particular party or candidate‚” said Silaigwana.

“It has come to the knowledge of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that one of the Presidential candidates today‚ the 29th of July 2018 held a press conference at Meikles Hotel‚ in direct contravention of the provisions of the Electoral Act Fourth Schedule (Section 160A‚ Clause 7(1)(B). This matter has been reported to the police for investigation on possible infraction of the electoral law.”

Mugabe lost chance to fix Zim financial crisis – Communist Party

HARARE –  Zimbabweans take to the polls this morning saddled with chilling reminders of life under a hyper-inflationary economy but carrying hopes that the new government they will elect will speedily fix their lives and bring back food on the table through increased investment inflows, good policies and cordial relations with other countries.The once prosperous southern African country has stagnated into a net importer of basic foodstuffs and processed commodities as its industries recline on the back of operational constraints. A bigger portion of its populace has been driven out of the country in search of greener pastures and remittances from expat Zimbabweans have played a key part in sustaining livelihoods, say analysts.

Today’s election – in which current President Emerson Mnangagwa will contest against main rival Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance and 21 other presidential hopefuls – is landmark for a country that until last November had known only one ruler since independence in 1980. Yet it is the economy that will be under greater focus as Zimbabweans, weighed down by economic difficulties for a long time, cast their ballots.

ZANU PF Presidential candidate, 75-year-old Emmerson Mnangagwa
“After the election we expect things to improve and prices to stabilise from this current wave of increases as people get over the apprehension over elections,” Denford Mutashu, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers said from Harare.Zimbabwean retailers, among them Pick n Pay and OK Zimbabwe as the big players, source most of their stock from South Africa while Johannesburg based firms also have local units. South Africa is expected to continue playing a strong tole in Zimbabwe’s economy post the elections, economists told Business Report.

“South Africa is our biggest trade partner and as such we expect increased cooperations and invesment flows from South African investors. We both have local content policies but as we go beyond the elections, whatever policies we adopt should be in line with agreements and Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion agreements that are in existence,” Vandudzai Zirebwa, an economist with the Buy Zimbabwe pressure group said in an interview on Friday.

New South African investors in Zimbabwe include Karo which is developing a large platinum mine in the country which will be complemented by a refinery facility.  Other existing SA firms such as Anglo Platinum are investing more into constructing a pgmsmelter facility.
There are other investors through the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange who want Zimbabwe to quickly get over today’s election so that they can refocus their investments. The stock exchange has been rising as people switch investment strategies from monetary assets that are considered risky to the stock exchange which is seen as a long term store of value until after the elections.
As Zimbabweans vote today, the aftermath of the election will need to be embraced with an open mindset by whoever would have emerged victorious, experts emphasize. There have been disagreements over the electoral framework but opposition parties have decided to go to the polls nonetheless.
“What is critical is to address the fundamentals of the economy – first issue is forex shortages, identify factors that are quick wins and for me this includes addressing viability in agriculture and mining sector. There is room for improvement only if the new administration is open minded enough,” Zirebwa added.With Mnangagwa promising to open up the economy for further investments and Chamisa stacking up a list of quick fixes for the economy through restoration of credibility and confidence in how the economy is managed, Zimbabweans will place their votes knowing that their fortunes for the next five years will depend on their decisions today.

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