Mugabe was largely accused of being the stumbling block to progressive reforms due to his obsessive
desire to cling to power by all means necessary without due regard and attention to the country’s
unresolved socio-economic and political ills.
His ouster thus raised hope that the post-2018 election period would open a new era for Zimbabwe.
As mentioned earlier in this report, at the epicentre of the country’s socio-economic ills is the bane of
Zimbabwe’s disputed elections dating to as far back as the 2000 elections as retention of power by
whatever means became the major pre-occupation by then president Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.
And as if Zimbabwe’s is jinxed, the 2018 elections produced yet another disputed presidential election
outcome at a time when the country was beginning to show all the signs of the 2007 – 2008
hyperinflationary period. The country started experiencing acute fuel , foreign currency and drug
shortages, erosion of incomes, shortages and increases in the prices of basic commodities in an
economy with 90 percent unemployment.
Junior doctors went on strike demanding better salaries and improved working conditions. Teachers
affiliated to the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union, embarked on a 270-kilometres protest march from
the eastern border town of Mutare to Harare.
And as the country battled with a foreign and domestic debt of $16,9 billion, the issue of the outstanding
reforms, respect for human rights and freedoms, tackling corruption and government profligacy critical
to unlocking international financial support and investments to kick-start the ailing economy, thus
remained on the agenda.
Meanwhile, the period preceding the July 30 elections was generally peaceful with opposition political
parties campaigning freely in rural areas which were largely no-go areas during the Mugabe era.
Another plus was President Mnangagwa’s open invitation to previously banned Western countries to
observe the elections.
All that went up in smoke following the 1 August killings of six civilians in Harare by the military following
violent demonstrations by protesters demanding the release of the presidential election results. This
resulted in the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry into the shootings led by former South African
President Kgalema Motlanthe.
And as if that was not enough of a blow to President Mnangagwa’s pledge to break with the past, the
elections were dismissed as not being free, fair and credible by the European Union Observer Mission

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