Zimbabwe Elections – Policies Determined the Outcome

The MDC losers of the election in Zimbabwe and their backers explain the victory of ZANU as the result of election fraud. The outcome, however was widely predicted by polls and commentary in Africa.

ZANU had an inherent advantage bacause it is the liberation party. Since the intervention by the African Union in 2009, which led to a coalition government between ZANU and the MDC, peace, calm and stability has been restored and the economy has seen an impressive recoverery.

Average GDP growth since 2010 is 7% with inflation at 2.2%. Government revenues have grown from 16% of GDP to 36% of GDP. This has allowed the restoration of public services.

ZANU used the period to organize, while the MDC was deeply divided with two of its leaders standing in the election. Tsvangirai’s love life was much in the news, with a judge preventing a second marriage, by threatening him with jail for bigamy. The wedding ceremony still went ahead, but without signing the registry.

The most important factor, however, was the policies on which the parties campaigned. ZANU completed the land transfer to Africans. 125,000 small farmers received land and 50,000 larger smallholders received larger plots. With government help, food production stabilized and grew and many in the countryside increased their incomes.

The Lancaster Agreement with the UK had provided for financial assistance in land transfer to Africans, with fair compensation to the white land owners. The Blair government reneged on the agreement, which resulted in the difficulties seen at the start, as ZANU went ahead with implementation.

ZANU’s election platform was ‘indigenization’, aimed at 51% African ownership of all Zimbabwean firms. In contrast the MDC platform was a neoliberal agenda, aiming to attract foreign corporations to invest and create jobs. Bad experiences of this throughout Africa made that policy unpopular and many people voted accordingly.

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