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Vol 54 No 17

Published 23rd August 2013


Inside ZANU-PF's electoral coup

It was a tactical masterclass from Robert Mugabe and his high command. The MDC floundered, hit by trickery, bad planning and split votes

Harare has been eerily quiet since the elections, in shock at the Movement for Democratic Change's disastrous electoral performance. Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's triumphalist eve-of-poll rally had convinced the capital that a change of regime was at hand, so it was unprepared for President Robert Mugabe's win with 61% of the national vote, with the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) taking three quarters of the 210 parliamentary seats. Few people expect the MDC's electoral petition, submitted to the Constitutional Court on 9 August, to succeed in getting the rerun it requests. In fact, Tsvangirai's faction of the MDC did fairly well in the towns, polling 70% in many of the 23 (out of 29) seats it won in Harare Province. In Bulawayo it won all 13 seats with ZANU-PF struggling to get 25% of the vote. The MDC repeated the pattern in the smaller cities of Gweru (Midlands) and Mutare (Manicaland) and even the smaller towns where it won a few and had near misses in others.

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