Zimbabwe Elections: What Issues the Next Government Needs to Address?

By Scott Morgan

On July 30th, the people in Zimbabwe will head to the polls to vote in an election that will formally close out the era of Governance led by Robert Mugabe. 

The previous electoral cycles since 2000, which were dominated by ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front), were plagued by violence targeting the most supporters of the main opposition party the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change). This resulted in a sense of fear and frustration among a segment of the country. A failed intervention in the Congo Wars and a poorly designed land reform program were some of the symptoms of the issues that plagued the country.

Now, eighteen years later there is a sense of optimism for these snap elections coming within months of Mr. Mugabe’s removal. Since he is not a candidate there is a sense that Zimbabwe can move forward. That being said, there are some benchmarks that are normally held in a free and fair poll that are currently not resolved.

One June 14th, the final list of Presidential Candidates were authorized. That means a major hurdle is cleared. However, the printing of ballots has to occur next. With a six week deadline to have this completed the Electoral Commission may need assistance to meet this key threshold to run the elections. The process to update the voter rolls is incomplete at this time as well. These are two key benchmarks that need to be met in order to have an election that is run orderly.

Earlier this year, SADC (Southern African Development Community) held a meeting to discuss this upcoming poll. In their opinion, the group felt that the elections needed to be delayed in order to have a properly organized plebiscite. However, the Government of Emmerson Mnangawa has decided to move forward and have these polls.

Most people are focused on the technical issues that are needed to run a poll. However, what of the situation on the street? There are several issues that the next Government will need to address.

In previous polls, Military Leaders swore allegiance to one candidate over another. Ensuring a peaceful transition of power is paramount to ensure that democracy thrives in a country. The Green Bombers which is the branch of ZANU-PF comprised of youth has to renounce its violent past as well. 

Job creation is paramount for the next Government of Zimbabwe. One estimate finds that 95% of the Population currently works in the informal economy. That places enormous pressure on an economy under financial stress. For those not working in the informal sector access to their savings has been limited. How will these people get access to their earnings is another issue that the next Government will have to address.

There have been pledges of 3 Billion USD in direct investments made by key international donors. This includes a deal recently signed with China which will allow for HikVision to improve one of the few segments of the Zimbabwean Economy, that actually shows signs of life. Turning the country into a tech hub has to potential to take the economy to the next level.

There are signs of optimism in the country as it moves towards these polls. Yet there are underlying threats that need to be addressed in order for the country to move forward in healing the wounds caused by the 18 years of political crisis. 

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society. © 2007-2018 Author(s) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED]


  1. If Zimbabwe wants real change they should start by giving back the land they stole from white farmers!

  2. What guarantees do we have that it won't be business as usual afterwards?

  3. I wonder if this will be like in Turkey: rigged elections?


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