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Published 7th July 2000

Vol 41 No 14


ZANU-PF's Pyrrhic victory

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

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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

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The government prefers efficient farmers to contented peasants

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A tangled web

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

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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

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Cautious in Malawi

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Under fire

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Hall of mirrors II

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Death on the river

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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...