Violence – ranging from barely detectable to genocidal to coups and post-coup mêlées – has marred most if not all of Zimbabwe’s elections since its 1980 birth. Electoral brutality has been almost normalised since Zimbabwe’s first meaningful opposition, coupled with the ‘fast track’ land reform-inspired crises, accompanied the millennium’s turn. This article suggests that elections are signposts of what Antonio Gramsci might have considered the balance of coercion and consent during the long interregna between colonialism and an uncertain end. Evidence from Zimbabwe’s 2023 election and its predecessors illustrates the changing techniques between the coercion/consent poles as ZANU-PF’s leaders gain and maintain power along the rocky road to an unknown destination.
In view of the low levels of women’s representation in political office in Zimbabwe after the 2018 elections, questions arise regarding whether young people can, or will support female candidates in future elections. The youth is seen as a critical group that may shape the future of politics in Zimbabwe. We conducted a qualitative study to explore the views young people have of female political candidates, through focus group discussions and indepth interviews with participants aged between 19 and 24 in the city of Masvingo. Drawing on social constructionism, poststructuralist feminism, and intersectionality analyses, the study found that young people in urban Masvingo have a predominantly negative perception of female candidates, although this is mediated by factors such as gender, class, sexuality, disability, and education. Nonetheless, some of the youth in Masvingo appear to be redefining or countering gendered societal norms and values, as they appear to accept women as political candidates.
This article investigates Zimbabwe’s post-2000 elections, why they have been more hotly contested than previously, and whether they have been undemocratic. The post-2000 period marked what is arguably the most turbulent phase in the electoral history of the country since independence in 1980, and Zimbabwe’s elections were de facto degraded, becoming a means of sustaining incumbents in power. The paper asserts that Zimbabwe’s elections are mainly a front for hoodwinking both the electorate and observers. They are not used to provide for the free expression of the will of the people, but to endorsethe incumbents rather than effectively challenge them. To this extent, they are manipulated to produce a pre-determined outcome confirming the current leaders, irrespective of their performance. Supported by empirical data from interviews and primary sources together with statistical records from electoral institutions such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT), and Afrobarometer, the article concludes that elections are mainly for show, to entrench the incumbents.
This article analyses rural electorate consciousness and urban voting
preferences during Zimbabwe’s elections from 1980 to 2018. The article gives
agency to the rural dwellers in elections, contrary to the general perception
of a captured rural voter and liberal urban voter. To analyse rural voters’
electoral consciousness, the paper uses primary sources (electoral statistical
records), oral interviews (notwithstanding the prevailing COVID-19
lockdown environment) and secondary literature to derive research data. The
data helps to determine the differences between urban and rural ideologies,
culture and ethics which manifest in the political party preferences of the
social groups in the two geographical spaces. The paper concludes that rural
dwellers tended to support the ruling party at elections, though they were
more vulnerable to political patronage and seemingly forced participation
in electoral processes than the urban voters. Nonetheless, complex cultural,
economic, social and historic factors compelled them to participate in elections
more than their urban counterparts. Thus, rural voters can be viewed as
conscious participants in electoral processes with varied, albeit mobilised
participation and political ideologies.
The paper is a critical inquiry into the influence of succession politics on state administration in Africa, with particular reference to Zimbabwe, and unpacks the interactive boundaries and conceptual overlaps in this field. This study was based on 18 qualitative in-depth interviews conducted with key informants using the purposive sampling technique, complemented by extensive document […]
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