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Rural vote carries crocodile to victory in Zimbabwe

The results are in, and Business Day reports that Emmerson Mnangagwa has won the Zimbabwean elections.

He apparently won 50.8% of the vote, with Nelson Chamisa of the MDC coming in second with 44.3%.

This means he just barely got over the 50% required to avoid a run-off vote.

Chamisa has not taken the loss gracefully, stating that he believes the result to be “fake”.

Looking at the breakdown in voting, Chamisa did particularly well in the urban areas, but Mnangagwa won in most of the rural ones.

According to EWN post-election violence in Zimbabwe has claimed six lives.

My Take

This was always going to be a close election. There is an advantage to being the incumbent party, and generally if you want to win elections it is best to focus your efforts on winning rural areas.

These results don’t speak of a strong mandate, except insofar as whether the MDC and Zanu-PF agree.

Was the election stolen? Well, it doesn’t help that it would probably be easier to rig elections outside of the main cities, and that is where Mnangagwa won, but I don’t think so. I think it would have been a more emphatic Zanu-PF victory.

Mugabe’s reign of terror has left deep scars in Zimbabwe, scars which include people being physically attacked for not voting Zanu-PF when that party won in the past. It takes a lot to overcome that. All things considered, the MDC has done pretty well.

My hope is that Mnangagwa manages to turn Zimbabwe around and get it back on its feet.

In an ideal world, Chamisa should be playing the role of Mnangagwa’s “no” man, the guy who forces Mnangagwa to provide the reasons for why he’s doing the things he’s doing, but we’re in a world where all too often that is seen as being “obstructive” rather than necessarily cautious.

All to often we make the mistake of thinking our problems are down to the doubters – when actually they’re providing useful, if annoying, input that can help avert disaster.

The role of opposition is an important one, lets hope that Zimbabwe’s new government recognises that and that our neighbours to the north can recover. Mnangagwa’s first test to see what kind of a leader he will be, will be in how he handles the MDC. If there is repression, Zimbabwe’s got another Mugabe.

  • Picture of Harare courtesy of toubibe at pixabay,
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