Land, Indigenisation and Empowerment: Narratives that Made a Difference in Zimbabwe’s 2013 Elections

The 2013 harmonised elections held in Zimbabwe after the termination of
the SADC- facilitated Government of National Unity elicited unprecedented
comment following another resounding ‘win’ by the Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF). This article reflects on the
election and argues that while competitive authoritarianism contributed
significantly to the party’s ‘landslide victory’, it is slipshod to ignore the
centrality to its electoral success of Zanu-PF’s populist stance with respect
to land, indigenisation and empowerment. The article also examines the
significance of hate speech as a negative campaign strategy employed by
Zanu-PF to portray the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in the most negative light. It concludes that the election
was reduced to ‘fantasies of salvation’ by President Robert Mugabe as a
charismatic leader, primarily because the electorate was seduced into viewing
Zanu-PF as the most credible party to pull the country out of the economic
quagmire through its land, indigenisation, empowerment, ‘pro-poor’ and
anti-Western policies. These policies resonated well with the growing
numbers of wage-less youthful voters,1 who constitute more than 60% of
the country’s population.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: 2013 general elections, MDC, ZANU-PF
journal of african elections vol13 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa