Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Zimbabwe as a model of Political democracy in Africa

The term democracy or the practicality of democracy has always been questioned in most African countries especially in the political sphere. Many people have termed African Political leaders as authoritarians or dictators . However, the southern African nation of Zimbabwe challenged the world as we witnessed in the pre, during and post elections era in the country in 2018. This report analyses in greater details, the events which characterized the political atmosphere of then Rhodesia now called Zimbabwe and highlights clear aspects of democracy in Africa.

In 2017, history was made in Zimbabwe when then President Robert Mugabe shocked the entire world by announcing his resignation as the president of Zimbabwe. With much dismay, the 93 years old Mugabe termed his untimely removal from power as a coup d’état. The diplomatic or tactful relegation of Mr. Mugabe saw the military taking hold of the central power, intervening in party politics over his succession. What remains doubtful is the fact that the then leader’s resignation letter did not specify his preferred successor; pundits however feel the Pan Africanist must have written the letter under duress. Undoubtedly, Mugabes departure came at a moment he was facing huddles from his own ruling ZANU-PF party; though the party still endorsed him as its preferred candidate as the country was gearing up for harmonized elections later in the year. Without fierce relataliation from Mugabe, no casualties were recorded, though there was political uncertainty. Vice president Emerson Mnangagwa who was sacked for displaying “traits of disloyalty” then assumed the helm of Zimbabwes presidency as the interim leader.

Transitional period under Emerson Mnangagwa

Following the developments, Mnangagwa with the backing of Zimbabwe military became interim president. Many Zimbabweans welcomed him with mixed feeling, many expressed doubts if Mnangagwa could bring much change and lead the country to a more free, fair and transparent elections in a short while.  However, Mnangagwa commonly known as the crocodile promised to uplift the country especially its economy. Again, history was created in Zimbabwe after the July 30 harmonized elections. The elections which international (AFRIC OBSERVER) and local observers hailed as free, fair and transparent saw President Emerson Mnangagwa ascend the helm of Zimbabwes presidency. Mnangagwa of the ruling ZANU-PF garnered a 50.8% against his main contender and front runner of the main opposition part —MDC Nelson Chamisa with 44.3%. Worth noting is the fact that then president Mugabe clearly refused backing his one time ally Mnangagwa and threw his support behind Chamisa. Though the elections were contested by the opposition crying foul, the top court in August 2018 gave its ruling in favour of Mnangagwa.  The post elections violence according to statistic recorded just 6 deaths, unlike in other countries like Kenya and Gabon. This year’s elections in Zimbabwe was so remarkable as many young Zimbabweans actively participated in the landmark elections. In the meantime, political bitterness between the Mugabes and the Mnangagwa families has been bridged or trouble shot. Thus, POLITICAL RECONCIALTION. Mugabe publicly saluted the office of the new leader and called his leadership divine. In a nutshell, July 30 harmonized elections in Zimbabwe came to write a new history for the country. Admitting that the country had been divided at the polls President Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans to remain united in building a new Zimbabwe for all. The optical shakeup finally put an end to the 37- year rule of Robert Mugabe. However, power remains in the hands Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party. Thus, Zimbabwe witnessed a change of personality and ideologies. The country now waits with anxiety, the political manoeuvres of Emerson Mnangagwa, the current president of Zimbabwe.  Thisitical maturity exercised by both political parties during this turbulent period in the southern African nation clearly depicts the country fit for real democracy in Africa. What awaits Zimbabwe under the new regime?  If incumbent Mnangagwa can revive the ailing economy of Zimbabwe, which came as a result of the weak Zimbabwe dollar and international sanctions, then he must have won the admiration of Zimbabweans. Their plight is to see economic upliftment/development. Can Zimbabwe be seen as a model of democracy in Africa? Asserting that there isn’t political democracy in Zimbabwe will be an exaggeration, what unfolded before, during and after elections was a clear indication of democracy.

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