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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:ZANU(PF) Strategies in General Elections, 1980-2000: Discourse and Coercion
Author:Kriger, NormaISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
opposition parties
Movement for Democratic Change
Politics and Government
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3518631
Abstract:This article highlights patterns in electoral discourse and coercive practices in Zimbabwe that analysts generally failed to recognize. Beginning with the first independence election in 1980, and moving through subsequent general elections, it focuses on the 2000 election. For many analysts, the 2000 general election campaign showed a new face of the ruling party, ZANU(PF). Against the new opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), ZANU(PF) engaged in violence and intimidation, often relying on youth and war veterans, even as it accused its opponents of subversive violence, Moreover, ZANU(PF) appealed to its liberation war credentials, while dismissing its chief opponents as puppets of British imperialism and reactionary white settlers. After the election, President Mugabe appealed for reconciliation between winners and losers, only to permit violence against those who had voted against the ruling party. For ruling party perpetrators of violence, there was impunity and later a presidential pardon. This article demonstrates how the ruling party used remarkably similar strategies in every general election since 1980, notwithstanding striking differences in the contexts, issues, and nature of the chief opposition party. Given this pattern of ruling party violence and intimidation on the one hand, and characterization of opposition parties as illegitimate on the other, the article examines why analysts repeatedly saw in the regular multiparty elections either a democratic system or one that was amenable to democratization. Bibliogr, notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]