Zimbabweans are forced to wait another 5 years for the possibility of change in the federal government after Africa’s longest President, Robert Mugabe, has been re-elected in the southern African nation. The results are emerging from the recent elections which suggest that incumbent Mugabe has won 61% of total votes, ahead of the main opposition candidate and current Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, who won an alleged 34% of votes. Mugabe acquired 1 million more votes than he did in the 2008 presidential elections. What this means is that at the age of 89 Mugabe has won another 5 years of rule over the southern African nation - making him the country’s President 26 out of the nation’s 33 years of independence.
Not surprisingly, Tsvangirai has alleged Mugabe of election fraud – calling the election “stolen” and a “coup by ballot”. Australia has urged Zimbabwe to hold new elections, while the US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that the US "does not believe that the results ... represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people". Spokesperson of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF responded by arguing that "The West is disappointed with the outcome because their puppet lost. But you were there, you saw that everything was done accordingly, there was peace and tranquility…”
So what next for Tsvangirai and his allegations?
His first recourse is to Zimbabwe’s courts, but they are sympathetic to Mr Mugabe. His next hope is that the Southern African Development Community, a regional body, and the African Union will judge that the elections were not credible, and pressure Mr Mugabe into a fairer re-run. The odds on that are also quite long. Mr Tsvangirai did not reveal his Plan C (if indeed he has one) should the first two gambits fail. “If I had a game plan, I wouldn’t say it here,” he said unconvincingly (The Economist)
Zimbabweans now fear that the country will return to days similar to the 2008 post-election violence. The Zimbabwe Catholic church warned its parishioners against partaking in political bitterness and violence that could threaten the country’s peace. There are few reports of possible protests that will emerge in opposition of the fraudulent results, but in preparation the Zimbabwe police in Harare are “mounting roadblocks with heavy weapons” and are stationing water canon trucks at points where civil disobedience may occur.
Twitter was abuzz over the weekend with Africa experts and Zimbabweans alike analyzing and discussing the election results – the common thread being that most agree the elections were not as ‘fair’ as they have been claimed: