Publication International / Transnational - Africa - Political Parties / Election Analyses Zimbabwe: What if there had been no vote rigging?

Mugabe won the presidential election with 61%, while ZANU trounced MDC in the parliamentary race with 76% of the 210 seats. Analysis by Jos Martens, Johannesburg.



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Jos Martens,


August 2013

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Robert Mugabe hat die Präsidentschaftswahlen in Simbabwe mit 61% der Stimmen gewonnen. Im Rennen um die Sitzverteilung im Parlament schlug seine Partei ZANU PF die Konkurrenzpartei MDC vernichtend mit 76% der Stimmen und 210 Sitzen. Das Verfassungsgericht von Simbabwe bestätigte gestern die Rechtmäßigkeit der Wahl.

Jos Martens, Aktivist und Projektmanager des Regionalbüros der Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in Johannesburg analysiert mit spannenden Hintergrundinformationen wie es zu diesem Ergebnis kommen konnte. Der Text liegt leider nur in englisch vor.

Since the first preliminary results of Zimbabwe’s 31 July 2013 harmonized elections have come out, most talk has been about whether or not the elections have been free, fair and credible, with a main bone of contention the rigging of the voters roll. Little has been said about the voting behavior of the Zimbabweans per sé; why, apart from the rigging, still so many have voted for ZANU and Mugabe.

A few days after the elections I spoke to one of my wife’s cousins who is a committed communal farmer in Eastern Zimbabwe. Like so many others she carries a ZANU membership card with her while she is an MDC supporter. She was equally surprised about ZANU’s land slide victory as the other people in her village: “So many of us said, we want change, we want change”, she wondered, referring to “Chinja Maitiro”, MDC’s rallying cry. When asked why people were still supporting MDC, she answered: “People really hate Mugabe. We all know that Tsvangirai is friends with the Americans and they can help us. Mugabe is with the Chinese and these people are very cruel; they also did not re-open the companies that were closed. We want the British also to come back, not as rulers, but they do work hard. Many people who got plots of land are not working it, what can you do if you only have a hoe? They could assist there. Maybe they can open businesses again; we want our children to get employment. In the olden days life was hard but it was cheaper too. I was not afraid to vote the way I wanted. You are alone in the ballot box so why should I be afraid? ”

Of course, one person is not representative for a whole population. For example, this cousin lives in a village where there wasn’t much violence during the 2008 elections. Rainfall in the area is generally good and farmers use artificial fertilizer and commercial seed whenever they can get it. Many also receive remittances from their children working abroad, most often in South Africa but also in Britain.

But even this short conversation shows that people’s voting behavior is largely directed by one main concern, their wish to improve their lives: more income, lower prices, employment, support services, safety …

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