Zimbabwe’s first post-Robert Mugabe harmonized elections, held Monday, Jul. 30, 2018, were supposed to usher in a new era. Instead, they ended in allegations of vote rigging leveled against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), a parliamentary majority for the ruling Zanu PF party, a disputed narrow presidential win for President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and bloodshed on the streets of Harare.
On Tuesday, Aug. 1, the military-dominated ZEC announced that Zanu PF had won 155 parliamentary seats. Nelson Chamisa’s opposition MDC Alliance took 53 seats. Then the commission withheld the results of the presidential contest pitting Mnangagwa, Chamisa, and 21 other candidates. Mnangagwa, 75, grabbed power last November through a military coup that toppled Mugabe after 37 years of bloodstained rule.
Election observers from the African Union and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) bloc endorsed the elections as “free” and “fair”. Hours after the endorsement, the Zimbabwe Defense Forces gunned down at least six people during an opposition protest against ZEC’s suspicious delay of the release of the results of the presidential contest. The state-sponsored terror caught the world media’s attention.
Below are a few of the Zimbabwe state terror news headlines on Aug. 2, 2018:
Here’s How Zimbabwe’s Post-Election Unrest Turned Deadly – Time Magazine
Zimbabwe: from Mugabe’s ouster to a bloody election – Daily Nation
ZEC announced the results of the president voted in the early hours of Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. According to the results, Mnangagwa won the presidential election with 50.08% of the vote, narrowly avoiding a runoff against Chamisa, who won 44.3% of the vote. Chamisa has rejected Mnangagwa’s victory. He’s expected to challenge the results of the presidential election in the Constitutional Court.
After the announcement of the results of the presidential vote, the military and Zanu PF activists engaged in what appears to be a terror campaign aimed at permanently silencing the opposition. Soldiers reportedly raided Harare’s high-density areas, which overwhelmingly voted for Chamisa. The crackdown forced dozens of opposition leaders, polling agents and supporters into hiding across the country. Numerous media outlets around the world reported on Mnangagwa’s strange post-election campaign of terror.
Below are Zimbabwe state terror news headlines on Aug.3, 2018, the day of the announcement of the disputed results of the 2018 president election:
Army violence dashes Zimbabwe’s plans to re-engage with west – Financial Times
A tarnished victory for Emmerson Mnangagwa in Zimbabwe – The Economist
Zimbabwe was united. This election has divided us again – The Guardian (UK)
State gags shooting victim’s family – NewsDay
The Tragedy of Zimbabwe – Wall Street Journal
Zimbabwe’s hopes for new start after Mugabe dashed – The Guardian
A false new dawn for Zimbabwe – News24.com
On Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, the Guardian (UK) reported, “Soldiers moved through suburbs of Harare, the capital, and satellite cities on Friday night and early on Saturday morning, beating supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), firing weapons outside the homes of its MPs and sealing off the homes of leaders’ families.” Below are a few Zimbabwe state terror news headlines on Aug. 4, 2018:
Mnangagwa talks of unity as opposition hides from army – The Guardian (UK)
Below are a few Zimbabwe state terror news headlines on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018, nearly two days after the announcement of the result of the 2018 president election:
Soldiers go berserk in Harare – The Standard
Zimbabwe intensifies crackdown on opposition – Financial Times
Tense atmosphere ensues in Harare CBD – NewsDay
Relatives claim plot to cover up army killings – The Standard
Zimbabwe opposition face wave of detentions, beatings after election loss – The Guardian (UK)
ZDF disowns rogue soldiers – Daily News
Who ordered the deadly military crackdown? Was it really necessary for the military to respond to the post-election protest with war tanks, helicopters, and live ammunition? Ordinary people who had nothing to do with the protest, including a woman shot in the back, were murdered in cold-blood.
Some foreign figures sought to exonerate Mnangagwa, the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces while blaming vice president Constantino Chiwenga, the former general who led the coup against Mugabe. British Labour MP Kate Hoey even suggested that governments of the European Union, U.K. and Unites States should not change their policies on post-Mugabe Zimbabwe “until at the very minimum Chiwenga is removed from his vice presidency and his control of the military”. Below are a few Zimbabwe state terror news headlines on Monday, Aug. 6, 2018:
Zimbabwe’s Dubious Election – The New York Times
On Tuesday, Aug 7, 2018, Canadian, U.S., and European Union ambassadors in Zimbabwe condemned the Mnangagwa government’s “serious human rights violations”. Below are a few Zimbabwe state terror news headlines on Aug. 7, 2018:
Zimbabwe’s Treatment of Election Protesters Condemned by Diplomats – Wall Street Journal
Zimbabwean soldiers beating up opposition, rights group says – Waco Tribune-Herald
Within days, the Zimbabwe police had arrested dozens of MDC politicians and activists on charges of inciting public violence during the Aug. 1 protests. Those arrested include Tendai Biti, an MDC Alliance principal and respected former Zimbabwe finance minister. Below are a few Zimbabwe state terror news headlines on Wed, Aug. 8, 2018:
Zimbabwe activists go into hiding as security crackdown intensifies – The Guardian (UK)
Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe Is Old Wine in a New Bottle – Foreign Policy
Below are a few Zimbabwe state terror news headlines on Thur, Aug. 9, 2018:
Zimbabwe opposition figure charged after forced return – The Guardian (UK)
After grabbing power through a military coup, President-elect Mnangagwa and his military benefactors hoped to gain legitimacy through the ballot. They almost got it through the 2018 election.
The brutality unleashed on opposition supporters in the past few days make it crystal-clear that Mnangagwa is determined to consolidated his power through state-sponsored terror and the barrel of the gun. After all, this is the same Mnangagwa who used “to bide his time before suddenly crunching Mr Mugabe’s enemies“.
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based blogger, photographer, digital rights enthusiast, former political aide, and former international development administrator. He’s the founder and editor of these blogs: The Canadian Progressive, Zimbabwean Progressive, and Charity Files. Follow him on Twitter: @Obiemad
This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence. No permission is required for non-commercial reuse and distribution. However, you’re strictly required to cite the original source in accordance with the terms of the license.