The agenda has already been set. Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leader Emmerson Mnamngagwa is winning the coming 2023 elections. But they have already been discredited because he is going to win through violence, corruption and rigging.
Though the date for the elections has not been announced yet, two United States think tanks published reports, a week apart, both saying President Emmerson Mnangagwa is winning the elections, likely to be held at the end of July but before 26 August.
The Robert Lansing Institute gave three scenarios.
It says the most likely scenario is that ZANU-PF will win the elections with relatively as little controversy and dispute as possible.
“In this scenario, polling figures (both from polling stations and constituencies, V11 and V23) tally as perfectly as possible with those announced by the national command center – and, hopefully limit any rigging allegations,” it says.
“In this way, President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa and his ruling ZANU-PF party hope for acceptance and legitimacy by the local, but especially international community – as he seeks to be recognized as truly and democratically elected leader.
“The flagship of his administration is the ‘engagement and re-engagement policy’ – which Mnangagwa is pinning his hopes on for the removal of targeted sanctions and the pariah state tag. This is what Mnangagwa hopes for.”
The second scenario is that there is flagrant rigging of elections. Results announced by the electoral commission after the 2023 elections are doctored and far different from those at the polling stations (V11) and constituencies (V23).
“This has happened before in 2008 and 2018,” the Institute says.
But in both cases the opposition could not provide any proof.
In 2008, for example, a vote tallying centre sponsored by Zimbabwe’s richest man Strive Masiyiwa and manned by US experts failed to come up with plausible results of rigging.
According to Wikileaks, “the MDC’s American adviser Kathi Walters told United States embassy officials in Pretoria that the MDC centre had about 80 percent of the votes captured, so it could not say party leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won definitively without having 100 percent of the votes unless Tsvangirai’s numbers were higher.”
In 2018 Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa challenged the election results at the Constitutional Court and lost. He failed to produce the V11s though he had claimed to have them.
The Institute says under the second scenario, “as much as ZANU-PF would want to avoid this, the risk is far more acceptable for the party than losing power.”
It says the third, but most unlikely scenario, is that Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa wins the elections and is announced the winner.
“This scenario is unlikely to happen, considering that ZEC’s impartiality is already questionable,” it says.
Stratfor, a commercial intelligence company, says corruption, violence and election interference will likely help Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa secure another term, likely worsening the country’s economic malaise through continued financial mismanagement, corruption in the mining sector and lack of access to external credit.
It says, however, that the CCC party’s recent political gains have renewed optimism that charisma can win the presidency, but Mnangagwa and his ruling ZANU-PF party will likely effectively suppress the opposition by using violence, intimidation, corruption and patronage networks.
“The CCC won 19 out of the 28 seats on the ballot in parliamentary by-elections held in February, reviving hope that Chamisa could have sufficient support to oust Mnangagwa in the coming election,” it said.
It did not, however, point out, like the Lansing report did, that CCC previously held 21 of the 28 seats and thus lost two seats to ZANU-PF.
Incidentally Stratfor said way back in 2015 that Mnangagwa was already running the country.
“Whether we like it or not Emerson Mnangagwa has much more acumen, presence and money to be more effective than Tsvangerai(sic) and he also has much larger support from the British Intelligence Community that has close ties with big business interests,” it said.
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