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Vol 49 No 10

Published 9th May 2008


Zimbabwe

Dealing with a wounded tiger

Led by its Legal Affairs Secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa, hardliners in the governing Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) cling to power in the face of internal dissent and the government's defeat at the 29 March polls. They insist that President Robert Mugabe will fight a presidential runoff vote against the Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai, probably in June or July, and will win by all means necessary.

After almost a week of political paralysis in ZANU-PF following the 29 March elections, Emmerson Mnangagwa and his allies honed a fight-back strategy for the party that involves challenging the opposition parties, both politically and diplomatically. Here, ZANU-PF has suffered the most serious damage since Independence in 1980. Its myth of electoral invincibility has been shattered in both the parliamentary and presidential polls. Zimbabweans have seen that their votes can count and the electoral system can work - even if they suspect the second round might by fixed by ZANU-PF. An early sign of this was the targeting of teachers, who served as polling agents, in opposition-supporting areas by party thugs.

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