PSC Interview: Little chance of a free and fair poll in Zimbabwe

PRETORIA, South Africa, November 8, 2017/- Zimbabwe is heading for crucial elections in 2018 amid a growing economic crisis and fierce infighting in the ruling Zanu-PF. President Robert Mugabe (93) is eligible for re-election, but there are moves behind the scenes to determine his eventual successor. The PSC Report spoke to Derek Matyszak, Senior Research Consultant for the Institute for Security Studies in Zimbabwe, about the run-up to the polls.

At what stage are the preparations for the 2018 elections?

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is presently constructing an entirely new voters’ roll for the country, and says it will finish the process in January 2018. Nothing is being done, however, to align electoral laws with the new 2013 constitution, and there does not appear to be any political will to do so. There is a big difference between the preparations by the ruling Zanu-PF party for the polls and those of the myriad opposition parties. While Zanu-PF has already been campaigning – suggesting that it will use its parliamentary majority to call elections early – and distributing patronage to secure votes, the opposition parties, including the MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai, are still fumbling in their attempts to form a united front against Mugabe. They are beset with leadership problems and are totally unprepared.

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