International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Zimbabwe’s Elections: A Legitimate Ritual of ZANU PF
Emaculate Mvundura

Elections are often thought of as the heart of the political process (Heywood, 2007, p. 247). In principle, elections are mostly viewed as democracy in practice – a means through which the people can control their government and keep it in check. In return, elected leaders will always be conscious of the fact that their stay in power is primarily premised upon their ultimate satisfaction of the electorate who in essence, wield power. In democratic political systems, elections are an important feature of public participation in choosing the individuals and groups that will rule them (Makumbe, 2006, p. 1). However, majority of African countries’ ruling parties mostly hailing from governments led by former liberation movements have mastered and perfected the art of manipulating electoral systems with the primary objective of deceiving the people into believing that they govern themselves. As such, whereas there is absolute defiance of the proper conduct of a free and fair election, authoritarian governments still regard the legitimate stay on power as critical especially power retention attained through an election, regardless of how sham its conduct could be. Such has been the case in Zimbabwe – a state whose electoral history has been marred with violence, electoral fraud, and prolonged stay in power by the ruling party. Under the given circumstances it is challenging to dismiss as inaccurate, assertions that in Zimbabwe just like many African states, elections are still only viewed as a viable means to retain legitimacy of the otherwise illegitimate authoritarian regimes.

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