Next July, Zimbabweans will vote for their president. After more than four decades at the head of the country, Zanu-PF does not seem ready to hand over power to the opposition.
Zimbabwe is one of the last African countries to become independent. On April 18, 1980, at the time of Independence, Robert Mugabe took over as Prime Minister in what was then a parliamentary regime. Seven years later, he amended the Constitution of his country and made it a parliamentary system to gain the presidency. A post that he will not let go until after thirty years of reign – thirty-seven years in all at the head of the country.
While Mugabe was forced to resign after parliament initiated impeachment proceedings against him, the hegemony of the Zanu-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front) has not been shaken . Or almost. Because in 2018, when it came time to vote, Zimbabweans were divided, and facing Nelson Chamisa, of the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) coalition created by trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai, Emmerson Mnangagwa only obtained 50,8% votes.
Suffice to say that for the ballot which is taking shape next July, everything seems possible. General elections will take place that month in Zimbabwe: presidential, legislative and senatorial. The stakes are therefore high.
Can opponent Nelson Chamisa believe it?
On the one hand, Emmerson Mnangagwa will try to confirm that he is the favourite. The one who succeeded Mugabe was indeed invested by Zanu-PF. The presidential party does not seem ready for a new change. The duel of this 2023 presidential election should therefore remain unchanged. Because facing him, the outgoing president will once again find Nelson Chamisa. If the name of his coalition has changed – it is now the CCC, for Citizens' Coalition for Change – the former leader of the MDC intends to once again play the spoilsport.
Forced to change the name of his party, Nelson Chamisa had a lot to do: publicize his party, raise funds and prepare for the upcoming presidential campaign. With 44% of the vote garnered in 2018, Chamisa hopes to beat Mnangagwa. There is hope: the last partial legislative and local elections have enabled the CCC to realize its popularity.
But the presidential election is another story: Nelson Chamisa knows that Emmerson Mnangagwa will be formidable and that, even in the event of a short lead, it will be difficult for him to claim victory as Zanu-PF has his hands on the country's institutions.