As Zimbabweans vote in the harmonised elections that will change the course of history for the country, NewsDay gives you a history of elections since independence in 1980.
1980: Southern Rhodesia held general elections, in accordance with the conclusions of the Lancaster House agreement, to decide upon a government that would rule the country. Zanu PF won making Robert Mugabe the first Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.
Read Mugabe’s victory speech below:
1985: A newly independent Zimbabwe held general elections for the first time. Zanu PF under Robert Mugabe was re-elected with an increased majority.
1990: This year marked the first elections to be contested under the amended constitution of 1987, which established an elected executive presidency and abolished the Senate. Edgar Tekere, then ex-Minister of Labour & Man-Power Planning, ran against Mugabe as the candidate of the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM). He had been expelled from Zanu PF following his consistent criticism of corruption. Tekere was strongly against Mugabe’s notion of a one party state as he was quoted of saying: “A one-party state was never one of the founding principles of Zanu PF and experience in Africa has shown that it brought the evils of nepotism, corruption and inefficiency.”
It is reported that Tekere received unprecedented support for his opposition to Mugabe which led to massive election rigging by Zanu PF in order for Mugabe to win. ZUM supporters were the targets of violent attacks which resulted in five candidates being murdered. Those convicted of the attempted murder of former Gweru Mayor Patrick Kombayi who was shot in the lower abdomen but survived the shooting, were pardoned immediately afterwards.
1996: The elections were contested by the incumbent President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe Rhodesia-era Prime Minister Abel Muzorerwa, and Zanu-Ndonga leader Ndabaningi Sithole. Mugabe won, claiming over 90% of the vote, though was just 32,3%, largely as a result of Sithole and Muzorewa withdrawing their candidacies shortly before the election (though their names remained on the ballot).
In December 1997 Sithole was convicted of conspiring to assassinate Mugabe; he appealed but died whilst out on bail.
2002: President Robert Mugabe won claiming 56,2% of the vote which was the closest presidential election to date. The AU described the election as “transparent, credible, free and fair”, but the conduct of the election was strongly condemned by the Commonwealth, Nowegian observers, Zimbabwean opposition figures, and Western governments and media.
2008: The three major candidates were incumbent President Robert Mugabe (Zanu PF), Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC), and Simba Makoni, an independent. Nearly a month passed before election results were announced which prompted the MDC to sought an order from the High Court to force their release. It was unsuccessful.
As no candidate received an outright majority in the first round, a second round was held on 27 June 2008 between Tsvangirai (with 48% of the first round vote) and Mugabe (43%). Tsvangirai withdrew from the second round a week before it was scheduled to take place, citing violence against his party’s supporters. The second round went ahead, despite widespread condemnation, and led to victory for Mugabe.
The period following the first round was marked by political violence. Zanu PF and the MDC each blamed the other’s supporters for perpetrating the violence; Western governments and prominent Western organisations blamed Zanu PF for the violence.
Faced with a widely condemned election victory, a parliament without two-thirds majority of his Zanu PF, and a broadly recognized first round result in which Tsvangirai was leading, Mugabe found himself with no choice but to accept the regional and international community’s suggestions for a negotiated political settlement.
A unity government took office on February 2009.
2013: This will be the first election held under a new constitution, which was approved in a referendum in March 2013. Meet the main candidates below:
Listen to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s manifesto launch speech below:
Listen to President Mugabe’s manifesto launch speech below:
Meet the Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede:
Sources: African Election Database/Wikipedia/MyZimVote youtube