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JSPES, Vol. 44, No. 3-4 (Fall-Winter 2019)
pp. 298-317

Elections in Zimbabwe: the Mugabe Years    

Felix Makonye
University of KwaZulu-Natal,Westville, South Africa

Joseph Rudigi Rukema
University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

This paper discusses the failure of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe during the Mugabe period with a view to identifying what was needed to ensure sustainable, peaceful, free and fair elections in that young African country. The findings stem from the three major themes of research into Zimbabwe’s electoral history. These are: the dynamics of pre and post-electoral violence, existing mechanisms to stem pre- and post-electoral violence, and what is needed to ensure peaceful, free and fair elections in the future. Three theories are used to analyse the findings of this research: conflict transformation theory, theory of positive and negative peace, and the theory of human needs. This paper concludes that pre- and post-electoral violence has pervaded Zimbabwe since independence in April 1980 up to the present. It is noted that the supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has been at the receiving end of most of the inter-party violence perpetrated against by the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF).