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Zimbabwe Elections 2023: A Textbook Case Of How The Ruling Party Has Clung To Power For 43 Years

By David B. Moore Few were surprised as, near midnight on 26 August, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced incumbent president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s reelection in yet another of Zimbabwe’s tendentious contests.His inauguration on 4 September sanctified his return to power. Fewer still were shocked when South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, attended Mnangagwa’s inauguration regardless of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) election observation team’s critical report and the absence of most of his peers from the SADC and the African Union. Mnangagwa gained 52.6% of the 4,561,221 votes cast. Nelson Chamisa, head of the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), garnered 1967343 or 44%. Zanu-PF’s 136 of parliament’s 210 seats is just under the two-thirds needed to change the constitution. I’ve observed and written about all Zimbabwe’s elections since 2000, when Zanu-PF first faced strong opposition from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) under Morgan Tsvangirai. My book Mugabe’s Legacy: Coups, Conspiracies, and the Conceits of Power in Zimbabwe covers nearly 50 years of Zanu-PF’s propensity to gain power by any means - even genocide. This election displayed many of these patterns.

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