Unpacking the first post-Mugabe poll
Publish date: 06 August 2018
Issue Number: 785
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Following last week’s election turmoil in Zimbabwe, analyst Joe Devanny (writing in the Mail & Guardian) states that it should have been clear to all observers – including neighbouring states and SADC – that some form of post-election mediation effort would be necessary in such a polarised eventuality. He says such was the opposition’s manifest lack of confidence in the integrity of the electoral process. '(Opposition candidate Nelson) Chamisa didn’t need to be photographed meeting (Kenya's opposition leader) Raila Odinga in February to make people realise that his refusal to accept a freshly-minted mandate for Mnangagwa’s ''new dispensation'' was always a real risk. Prior to the election, Chamisa had said that, as ZEC was the election’s referee it ''must not only be fair but it must be seen to be fair''. International observer missions have differed in their emphases and interpretations, but whatever the true outcome of Monday’s votes, it is hard to deny that ZEC failed to do enough to win public confidence in the integrity of the electoral process. In this light, the MDC Alliance’s announcement that it had won the popular vote was undoubtedly unofficial and premature, but does anyone really know whether or not it was true? Given that, can it be right for regional and international actors to insist that opposition parties meekly accept the official account of a (possibly stolen) election? This is what happens when public institutions lose the people’s confidence.'