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Zimbabwe’s perplexing election

Zimbabwe’s perplexing election

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Published: 4 August 2013

Zimbabwe’s perplexing election, Andrew Harding, Africa correspondent

Andrew Harding, Africa correspondent

Africa correspondent

A woman carrying a child casts her vote at a polling station in Domboshava, 31  JulyThe turnout was high, but the result has been confusion

Most elections provide answers. Zimbabwe’s seems to be generating questions. As President Robert Mugabe romps to a devastating victory, here are a few that spring to mind…

Does the sheer size of Mr Mugabe’s majority mean it’s unlikely he could have rigged the vote to that extent, and therefore must have won legitimately?

What does this mean for Zimbabwe’s economy? Will Zanu-PF match its campaign rhetoric on indigenisation with aggressive moves against foreign banks and other companies? And might that risk triggering a new crisis?

Can the MDC control the anger and frustration in its ranks? And can its leader Morgan Tsvangirai survive another defeat?

Mr Tsvangirai said his party wouldn’t take part in any state “institutions”. Will he stick to that promise?

Given that its concerns about the voters’ roll were being articulated long before the election, would the MDC be in a stronger position if it had withdrawn from the ballot altogether?

Why, given its “grave concerns” about the voter roll (now echoed by the British government) did the African Union observer team rush to conclude that the election was “credible”?

How many arrests – particularly of civil society activists and MDC cadres – do you foresee in the coming days?

Will anyone even notice when Sadc finally rules on the “fairness” of the election sometime in September?

If conclusive evidence of rigging comes to light, will any parliamentary seats change hands?

Would Zimbabwe be better off if the MDC concedes defeat in the interests of harmony, or should it fight on?

How many British diplomats are cursing the day they ever pushed for sanctions against President Mugabe, given the astonishing propaganda value he’s extracted from them?

Will anyone in the opposition ever get an electronic copy of that voters’ roll – and work out exactly what happened to it?

Exactly what did Zanu-PF’s Patrick Chinamasa mean when he said the new constitution “may need cleaning up”?

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