❖ Introduction
Zimbabwe held its 2018 elections on 30 July 2018 against the backdrop of previously contested
outcomes amid allegations of rigging and manipulation of the results which were continuously won by
former president Robert Mugabe since independence in 1980.
The 30 July elections were thus significant in that Mugabe was not a factor in these elections following
his removal in a military coup in November 2017. Equally significant was that his long standing
nemesis, former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, for the first time since 2000, did not contest in the
2018 elections. Tsvangirai, who was the leader of the MDC-T since its formation in 1999, succumbed to
cancer of the colon in April 2018.
The absence of the two protagonists undoubtedly changed the complexion of the country’s politics as
his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa, who stood as Zanu PF’s presidential candidate, promised to
break with Mugabe’s intransigence politics.
In his inauguration speech on 24 November 2017 following Mugabe’s ouster, President Mnangagwa,
said he would strengthen and ensure the pillars of democracy are respected in Zimbabwe.
This raised hope that he would move with speed and implement outstanding socio-economic and
political reforms ahead of the 2018 elections. It is common cause that the elections came without
implementation of the envisaged reforms.
Worse still, the outcome of the presidential elections, was yet again disputed with the MDC-Alliance led
by Nelson Chamisa mounting a constitutional court challenge. The Constitutional Court, however,
upheld President Mnangagwa’s victory over Chamisa.
The elections were poignant as they were supposed to cleanse Zimbabwe of its previously disputed
election results and open the country’s socio-economic and political democratic space and retention of
international goodwill conducive to foreign direct investments.
International goodwill and foreign investments are critical to curing the country’s socio-economic ills and
stagnation characterised by 90 percent unemployment, corruption and mismanagement of national
Regrettably as 2018 came to a close, a year after President Mnangagwa’s post-coup leadership and
five months after the July elections, the outstanding reforms were still to be implemented.


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