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Published 7th July 2000

Vol 41 No 14


Zimbabwe

ZANU-PF's Pyrrhic victory

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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At a cost of 30 lives and the forced removal of more then 6,000 farmworkers, the ruling party has scraped home

Another eighteen months of economic stagnation and high-tension politics lie ahead after the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front squeaked to victory in the 24-25 June parliamentary elections. The Movement for Democratic Change 's winning of 57 seats against ZANU-PF 's 63 seats was impressive, given the violence and intimidation against opposition supporters, but it does not promise an early end to the power struggle. The MDC is planning to contest the results in at least 10 constituencies. Battle lines are being drawn for local elections due in August, when the MDC is again set to sweep the board in the towns and cities, and for the presidential elections due before April 2002. The MDC, just nine months old, is winning votes through courage and gusto - and most of all because it isn 't ZANU-PF. Compared to the ageing and often intemperate stalwarts of ZANU-PF, the MDC is an attractive youthful party, full of trades unionists, human rights activists and academics who have somehow managed to win some business support. It is a coalition formula that went terribly wrong with Frederick Chiluba 's Movement for Multi-Party Democracy in Zambia, but for now the MDC is ZANU-PF 's nightmare: a credible, well organised opposition party, which is capable of exploiting the ruling party 's economic mismanagement and corruption. Until the presidential polls and the exit of President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabweans can expect an extended election campaign punctuated by desperate discussions with creditors and the International Monetary Fund, as well as new battles over constitutional reform between ZANU-PF and its opponents. For now the ZANU-PF leadership and its sponsored 'war veterans ' want to maintain the occupation of white farms - both as a negotiating tool and as a political symbol. Alongside the occupations is the government 's insistence that the latest 841 designated farms be handed over for resettlement.


From the other side

Zimbabwe now has a multi-party political system. ZANU-PF will have to struggle to get more controversial bills through, as about 15 dissidents among the new crop of ZANU-PF MPs hav...


The bigger the better

The government prefers efficient farmers to contented peasants

Zimbabwe's land rows have touched a sore nerve in South Africa, where land hunger is a lively, if partly suppressed, political issue and where white people still dominate commercia...


A tangled web

The government opposes land-grabs, which could threaten its own estates

'We do not wish to be infected by the Zimbabwe virus'. That was how the head of Kenya's civil service, Richard Leakey, reacted to press reports in early June that squatters had occ...


The race to succeed

Since President Chiluba promised to go, the race to follow him is on - covertly

The knives are out as the ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy, bereft of a natural successor to President Frederick Chiluba, begins its pre-election finagling. Chiluba could ...


Too dry for crops

Redistribution sounds like a good idea until you look at the land itself

Namibia's 4,000 white farmers have been shocked by the farm occupations in Zimbabwe. The farmers, mostly of Afrikaner or German ancestry, had felt safe under the government's polic...


Clean up for donors

Lusaka is buzzing with preparations for a crucial meeting of the Consultative Group of donors in the city on 16-19 July. The government is hoping for US$605 million for next year; ...


Cautious in Malawi

Good land is scarce in Malawi and the best of it is occupied by settlers (often of South African origin) who produce the grain and the exports of tea and tobacco that keep the stru...



Pointers

Under fire

Work is scheduled to start late this year on the controversial US$3.7 billion Chad-Cameroon pipeline following the World Bank's June decision to lend the project $193 million. Chad...


Hall of mirrors II

Due to Transatlantic crossed wires, we said 'the son of TotalFina boss Thierry Desmarest is married to Canadian Premier Jean Chrétien's daughter, provoking discussions in pa...


Death on the river

New troubles face President Yahya Jammeh following the shooting of 13 student demonstrators in early April (AC Vol 41 No 8). Opposition leader Oussainou Darboe was arrested on 21 J...


Kabbah in court

Belgium's Chatelet Investment Company is suing the government in the first such case in a local court. Its lawyers, Banda Thomas and Co., appeared before High Court Justice Joe Mas...