What now for Zimbabwe?

Prospect Magazine

Prospect Blog

What now for Zimbabwe?


What will it take to get Mugabe out of power?

The hotly contested election in Zimbabwe has come and gone. Zimbabwe’s patriarch, Robert Mugabe has been declared the winner in the Presidential election by the Zimbabwe Electoral  Commission (ZEC), the body that controls elections. This “win” has created a dilemma for the opposition, which has been left with a few options.

The first option is for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to challenge the electoral outcome via the courts. Indeed, Morgan Tsvangirai, told a press conference that his party will approach the courts. But, there are difficulties with this move. Not only have the Zimbabwe courts been accused of partisan, with most of the judges having been appointed by President Mugabe and also benefiting from Zanu–PF patronage networks, historically, few significant rulings have been made in favour of the MDC.

The second option is to hope that MDC supporters initiate a political protest, as in Egypt, in an attempt to force President Mugabe to step down or consider a rerun of the election. This is unlikely considering the heavy handedness in which security sector has handled previous protests.

The third option is to appeal to the regional bodies of Southern African Development Community, and the African Union (AU) so that they can ask President Mugabe to seriously consider a rerun. As it appears, SADC and the AU appear to have endorsed the electoral outcome, and at the weekend, the South African President, Jacob Zuma who until recently has been critical of the President Mugabe sent a congratulatory message to the elderly stateman for having won the election. To SADC, AU and South Africa, as far as the Zimbabwe problem is concerned, it is solved.

Fourth, the MDC has stated that they will not participate in national institutions; for example, MDC winners in this election might not to take up their seats in the local councils, parliament and senate. This approach is problematic at two levels. First, it has the potential to split the party, as those members who won might decide to take up their positions in government institutions. Second, President Mugabe’s party will certainly go ahead and run the country without the MDC. Zanu–PF has always wanted a one party state, and it will not be surprising if they use this as an opportunity to seriously consider governing without the opposition.

The fifth, and most realistic option is for the MDC to ensure that it survives this defeat. It is an open secret that Zanu–PF is keen on crowding out other political parties from Zimbabwe’s political space. By winning a majority in parliament the machinery has already been set in motion to destroy Morgan Tsvangirai’s party. And, this long term dream of the revolutionary party might be realisable if the MDC does not regroup quickly.



  1. August 6, 2013


    Probably his death. Mugabe is in his eighties. Once that happens, does his ZANU PF regime have a designated successor? Who will replace the tyrant in the event of his incapacitation, moreover? These are questions that many observers of Zimbabwe’s travails would like answered.

  2. January 19, 2014

    kulumani magiya

    Remember,Zimbabweans are more educated that they vote mostly for better policies and security.Which party has better policies that would offer people in farms security.Most people in Zimbabwe once worked in whiteman”s farm was it lucarative or otherwise,what about a party that campaigns to bring back the exploitative employer.Please dont take people for granted they have a history to tell about this country.So basing on their past history people of Zimbabwe will always vote for their interests which is mostly land for their ancestors.

Leave a comment


Simukai Tinhu is a Zimbabwe analyst and journalist 

Most Read