Zimbabwe’s government recently announced an agreement on a new constitution, setting the stage for a constitutional referendum and general elections. While progress on the constitution is a welcome step, President Robert Mugabe’s continued grip on the country’s coercive apparatus and his disregard for formal institutions mean that the new constitution alone is unlikely to avert another violent general election.

Zimbabwe’s New Constitution Unlikely to Prevent Election Violence

By , , Briefing

After years of political wrangling, Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government announced in mid-January an agreement on a new constitution, setting the stage for a constitutional referendum and general elections in the coming months. While progress on the constitution is a welcome step forward for institutional and democratic reforms, President Robert Mugabe’s continued grip on the country’s coercive apparatus and disregard for formal institutions mean that a new constitution will likely be insufficient to avert another round of electoral violence in Zimbabwe.   

The compromise draft document, which curtails the power of the executive, among other changes, enjoys support from all parties in the unity government -- Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the smaller MDC faction currently led by Welshman Ncube. ...

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