Split opposition helping Mnangagwa to victory

HARARE — Zimbabwe’s divided opposition could bolster the long ruling party’s chances of victory after failing to forge a solid coalition for the country’s first elections without Robert Mugabe.


Twenty-three candidates — the highest number in the country’s election history — are in the running for the presidential race after haggling over the allocation of parliamentary seats, scuttling a plan by the opposition to form a united front in general elections due on July 30.

But the real battle is seen to be between the ruling Zanu PF and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the party which has posed the most formidable challenge to Zanu PF’s grip on power.

The main presidential candidates are Zanu PF’s Emmerson Mnangagwa (75), who succeeded Mugabe after a brief military takeover last November and Nelson Chamisa (40), who took over as leader of the MDC following the death of opposition veteran Morgan Tsvangirai in February.

“The unprecedented numbers of aspiring candidates is an indication of the opening of political space and an interest by Zimbabweans to take part in politics,” said Rashweat Mukundu, of Zimbabwe Democracy Institute.

Mnangagwa who took over from Mugabe, ending his nearly four-decade rule in which he presided over the country’s economic and political decline, has vowed to hold clean elections and break from past history of violence-tainted polls.

Zanu PF “has created the impression that it has broken from its past of violent and contestable elections, hence the unprecedented numbers of those who have come out to contest,” Harare-based independent analyst Alexander Rusero said, adding many have no following “beyond their small cliques and the churches they attend”.

“At best this is counterfeit democracy,” he said, which festers confusion among the opposition, while Mnangagwa enjoys the benefit of incumbency.

Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu PF party, riven by factionalism which began as a battle over Mugabe’s succession, is also battling to stay together.

‘Counterfeit democracy’

In May the party held a so-called “healing session” to appease disgruntled members who had threatened to “donate” their votes to the opposition, or stand as independents amid accusations of rigging and favouritism during primary elections.

“It’s not the number of candidates that’s worrying but the phenomenon of rebels who are insisting on standing without the blessing of their parties,” according to University of Zimbabwe’s Eldred Masunungure.

“This is going to have an impact on both Zanu PF and the MDC Alliance”.

Some 5,6 million people are registered to vote in the election which has attracted the interest of many first-time voters desperate for change in a country ruled by Zanu PF since independence from Britain in 1980.

“I was born under Zanu PF and all I have known is poverty and suffering,” Harare street vendor, Takudzwa Mutepeya said. “For us this is a vote for change”.

Mnangagwa has pledged to revive the country’s moribund economy which took a toll from years of misrule, and to mend fences with Zimbabwe’s former Western allies who severed ties over the Mugabe regime’s tainted human rights record.

Chamisa has said if elected, he will create a $100 billion economy in a decade.

‘A vote for change’

Other candidates include Mugabe’s former deputy Joice Mujuru, ex-Cabinet minister Nkosana Moyo, Thokozani Khupe from a breakaway faction of the MDC, and musician and sculptor Taurai Mteki.

Businesswoman Violet Mariyacha (61), returned home after 25 years in Britain, to join the presidential race.

“I could not continue watching my people suffering,” she said.

“I came to be the new face of Zimbabwe’s politics”.

Human rights activist and presidential candidate Lovemore Madhuku is in the election “to introduce an alternative voice. We are fed up withZ having two dominant parties that are simply doing nothing except fighting each other”.

Previous elections have been marred by violence, intimidation and charges of electoral fraud including stuffing of the electoral roll with phantom voters including long-deceased people.

In 2008, the then opposition leader Tsvangirai withdrew from a presidential run-off election citing the deaths of scores of his supporters.

The lead-up to the election has so far been calm. For the first time the state broadcaster covered the launch of the main opposition MDC’s manifesto live on television while police allowed a march calling for reforms including giving foreign-based citizens to right to vote without having to travel back home.

Do you have a coronavirus story? You can email us on: news@alphamedia.co.zw


  1. Comment…Apa iMDC chete inematambudziko, kana kuti Zanu PF inawowo? Nekuti musoro wenhau urikutaura zvawo, asi kuzoverenga panooneka kuti mapato maviri aya anezvinetso zvakangofanana.

  2. Luke Munya Bikaldo

    There really is no divided opposition in Zim and if there is any serious division it is in zanu pf.MDC has always won without any alliance in previous elections and having an alliance is actually a bonus whereas in zanu pf the split is almost a half-half situations between G40 and Lacoste.Musanyeperwe.

    1. Please comment again after comuing out of your slumber. then we talk

  3. Which one is MDC by the way there are too many

  4. To set the record straight, the opposition must recall that its Mugabe the person who exited the political scene. Mugabeism and ZANU PF’s electoral masterly still rein. Do not misconstrue his absence and the conducive campaigning atmosphere devoid of the characteristic violence as a win. We have to reason beyond the campaign whim as Mnangagwa and Mugabe are two sides of the same coin. Be forewarned that where the river is deepest, it makes the least noise.

    1. ‘Two sides of the same coin,’ but the other side is head and the other is tail, they are not the same even in a same coin.

  5. Indeed those splits in MDC exacerbated their lost but vagara havo vangavachangorakashwa. #ED has all votes.

  6. MDC yagara i team yema dhisinyongoro hapana kwayaimbosvika

  7. yellow journalism…how can you without shame name briefcase parties as potential threat to the chamisa machine….do not create an effigy/scare crow preparing people for rigging.

  8. yellow journalism…how can you without shame name briefcase parties as potential threat to the chamisa machine….do not create an effigy/scare crow preparing people for rigging….

  9. Nyaya iyi yashaya proper headline.Journo next time ukaona zve headline zvichinetsa,chingonyora vakanyarara tozozvinzwira tega pakuverenga.

  10. Nyongolo ngomo

    ED victory on your hands

  11. The split should not necessarily be seen as a disadvantage. I’ve always maintained that the two groups could quite easily and put their winnings together in the form of a post poll coalition. ZANU PF would not be able match the result of that such a union.

  12. #EDHASMYVOTE haa ED waenda nenyika. people who think mdc can stand the heat are just dreamers. too confused and directionless

  13. confusion kumdc not in zanu and that really shows immaturity within your mdc party.pasi nevane confusion

  14. Comrade Sithole

    The real deal is in monopolising the state media in confusing the electorate and churning out hate speech while supporting only one party.

Comments are closed.