Case Studies

Case Study

Case Strategy: Zimbabwe

The 2008 Presidential election in Zimbabwe caused great controversy in southern Africa. The presidential incumbent, Robert Mugabe, held the title since 1980 and  ran for the second time against the opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai. What seemed as a normal election for the people of the Zimbabwe turned into confusion as the results were withheld for over a month by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). When petitioned by the court to release the results, the ZEC called the vote in favor for Tsvangirai and the MDC. Mugabe and the ZANU-PF party called for a recount and the ZEC found that they could not call the first round a runoff. Before the 2008 election Mugabe's view had been that of a confident incumbent. He is even quoted to say "If you lose an election and are rejected by the people, it is time to leave politics" but after losing the first round to Tsvangirai, that optimistic view changes (BBC News). With seemingly only 47% of the vote, the ZEC was not able to call the election and the second round of votes would begin. After Mugabe and the militia began to use violence against opposition members in order to intimidate and ensure the second round of results, Tsvangirai dropped out of the election in order to protect his supporters. The results of that 2008 election are still unclear and the ZEC has lost creditability. Even Mugabe's willingness to use force against supporters of the opposition makes it hard to know for sure. Even though he faces scrutiny from the West, Mugabe will not allow forany outside organizations to come and proctor the second round of voting. In this paper, I will offer considerations for how to work the polling in the future and offer campaign ideas to legitimize the next election.

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By Kiersten Vaughan Post date: 02/03/2016