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Mnangagwa’s “Climate of Fear” Surrounded Second Term Confirmation

Mnangagwa’s “Climate of Fear” Surrounded Second Term Confirmation

Emmerson Mnangagwa, the incumbent president of Zimbabwe, has received a little over half of the votes, solidifying his second term in office.

However, the opposition has raised doubts about the election results, with election observers reporting violence and intimidation tactics.

Supporters of the ruling party celebrated in small groups in the capital city of Harare during the night following the announcement of the results by Priscilla Makanyara Chigumba, the chairperson of the electoral commission. According to Chigumba, “Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ZANU-PF party received 2,350,711 votes,” constituting more than half of the valid votes cast in the presidential elections. As a result, Mnangagwa has been declared the duly elected president of the Republic of Zimbabwe by the ZANU-PF party.

According to electoral law, receiving more than half of the votes means no runoff is necessary. Shortly after his reelection, 80-year-old President Mnangagwa outlined his government’s priorities, stating, “My new government will focus on improving food security in Zimbabwe, which is our top goal. Additionally, we are fortunate that Zimbabwe is rich in natural resources. We will continue to foster a favorable investment climate in the country.”

Despite these promises, Mnangagwa’s party has achieved little so far. Zimbabwe remains relatively isolated as western investors avoid collaborating with his government due to concerns about democratic deficits. On the other hand, the ZANU-PF party claims that the country benefits from its relations with BRICS nations. The largest opposition party, the Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC), expressed skepticism about the election results soon after they were announced.

Christopher Mutsvangwa, the spokesperson for the ZANU-PF party, seemed unperturbed during a press conference held on the afternoon following the announcement. He stated that anyone is free to challenge the results in court, highlighting it as a test of the country’s democracy. Mutsvangwa believes that seeking clarity through the legal system is the right way to go.

African election observers, in their preliminary reports, criticized the circumstances surrounding the election, stating that it was neither free nor fair. Fabio Massimo Castaldo, the chief observer from the European Union, concurred, affirming that “the adoption of regressive legal provisions, along with acts of violence and intimidation, ultimately led to a climate of fear.” The elections fell short of meeting regional and international standards, including crucial principles of equality, uniformity, transparency, and accountability.

Saviour Kasukuwere, a former member of the ZANU-PF government, intended to contest the election as an independent presidential candidate but was not allowed to do so. Kasukuwere shares a similar perspective and criticized the electoral process in an interview with Newzroom Afrika, stating, “The people had to vote in fear and on empty stomachs. It’s not like they were excited about Emmerson Mnangagwa, but their rights were systematically violated.”

Kasukuwere points out that Zimbabwe is under a military environment, with a prevailing climate of violence and fear. He further adds, “The reports from election observers highlight a crucial element – the suppression that is now entrenched in Zimbabwe’s political system.”

Recent laws in Zimbabwe make it a criminal offense to criticize the ruling party. Human rights organizations had already raised concerns about restricted freedom of speech, intimidation of opposition parties, and the appointment of individuals with close ties to the ruling party in the electoral commission. Zimbabwe’s economy has been in a severe crisis for a long time, with high unemployment rates and one of the highest inflation rates worldwide.


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