President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe will be inaugurated on Thursday, following the decision by the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), Morgan Tsvangirai, to drop his legal challenge that questioned the results of the 31 July elections.
This past weekend, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) also endorsed the landslide election victory by Mugabe and the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) thereby concluding the regional body’s exit strategy from Zimbabwe’s political crisis. Will this plunge Zimbabwe back into the dark days the country saw before the 2008 Global Political Agreement, with a worsening political and economic climate?
In this QA Gwinyayi Dzinesa, Senior Researcher with the Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis Division at the Institute for Security Studies, believes Mugabe might opt to tone down the country’s radical economic indigenisation programme in order to prevent a renewed economic collapse. He also says Mugabe alone knows who he is planning to anoint as his successor.
The MDC-T called the 31 July elections a ‘monumental fraud’. Yet it has now withdrawn its legal challenge of the results in which Mugabe won by 61% and ZANU-PF got 160 of the 210 seats in parliament. Was there any chance that the courts would have reversed the results?
The chances ranged from slim to none, considering the precedence of the Constitutional Court’s judgements regarding the elections. There is definitely concern that the Constitutional Court members, who are appointed by Mugabe, are partisan and biased in favour of ZANU-PF. Some of the judges also benefited from ZANU-PF’s controversial land reform programme.
The MDC-T also withdrew their petition because of lack of evidence in support of their case after last week’s High Court indefinite reservation of judgment on pushing the release of information to the party by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Some say this is now the end of Tsvangirai and he should actually retire after losing to Mugabe in three elections. Do you agree?
I think Tsvangirai has been outsmarted by ZANU-PF and by Mugabe’s strategies. We should certainly look beyond the irregularities reported by international and local observers and look at the MDC-T itself as well.