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.
File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections