History Of Questionable Elections Continues In Zimbabwe As Opposition Party Calls On Other Countries To Intervene
Following poll numbers that indicated the re-election of current President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party is calling on neighboring countries to help place the leadership of the southern African nation into new hands.
According to the Associated Press, within minutes of Mnangagwa’s re-election on Sunday, August 27, a spokesperson for the Citizens Coalition for Change party rejected the results as “hastily assembled without proper verification” and vowed that they would “not settle for less” than new leadership, before calling on other countries to get involved. “There is no alternative to a fresh and proper election … as an exit out of the vicious cycle of disputed elections,” Gift Siziba said. “We are calling upon our African brothers to help facilitate, mediate, and guarantee a process that will lead to our return to legitimacy.”
The ZANU-PF party, of which the current president is part, has been in leadership since Zimbabwe came into existence, following its independence from white minority rule in 1980. In those 43 years, the country has only had two leaders; 80-year-old Mnangagwa and Robert Mugabe.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission released the results only 48 hours after all polls closed, naming the incumbent the victor with 52.6% of the votes, compared to the opposing candidate, 45-year-old Nelson Chamisa‘s 44%. A ruling party affiliate organization called Forever Associates of Zimbabwe was said to be participating in voter intimidation at the polls by setting up tables outside of voting sites and taking down personal details of individuals arriving to cast their ballots.
According to the Associated Press, concerns about the integrity of the election were initially raised when voting was extended an extra day due to delays in printing ballot paper. The quick turnaround to declare Mnangagwa the winner simply heightened suspicions. Zimbabweans have wrestled with the validity of elections for years now, leaving many feeling demoralized this time around.
“It’s done. It never changes,” said Gerald Chosawa, a local resident. “I had some hope. Now it’s better to prepare to join the others who have left the country. That’s the best option.”