Zimbabwean elections

book cover Mugabe: power and plunder in ZimbabweThe Library, Documentation and Information Department of the ASC has compiled this dossier to coincide with the presidential elections in Zimbabwe on 9-10 March 2002. It contains a list of publications  on the elections and politics in Zimbabwe drawn from the ASC's library catalogue,  an introduction to the background of the 2002 elections  and  a selection of links to relevant web sites. The titles from the library catalogue, which go back to the first independent elections in 1985, are arranged in three parts:

Within each section, the titles are arranged chronologically. The library catalogue provides details about each title and abstracts of most publications. The web dossier begins with an introduction on Zimbabwe's elections and ends with a selection of relevant web resources.

For information about the dossier and the availability of titles please email us at: asclibrary@fsw.leidenuinv.nlor phone: +31 (0)71 527 3354.


Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Zimbabwe's political leader for the last 22 years, was born on 21 February 1924 at Kutama Mission north-west of the capital Harare. He embarked on his political career in 1960 as an official in a series of black nationalist political parties banned by the white minority government. In 1964 he was detained along with several other nationalist leaders and spent the next 10 years in prison camps and in jail. He used those years to continue his studies and to consolidate his position in the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) which, from 1976 onwards, waged a combined struggle as the Patriotic Front, an uneasy alliance of ZANU and Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU.

In the period following independence in 1980, Mugabe, whose ZANU-PF party received 63 per cent of the votes in the first majority-rule elections, adopted a conciliatory stance. As prime minister, he stressed the need for reconciliation and non-alignment. Land redistribution and the rehabilitation of the trust lands provided the greatest challenges  to his new government.

In the June 1985 general election Mugabe strengthened his party's position and Zimbabwe increasingly began to resemble a one-party state. An executive presidency incorporating the position of prime minister replaced the ceremonial president in 1987. Mugabe was nominated as the sole candidate for the position.

In spite of growing unemployment, rising prices, public and parliamentary complaints of corruption, strikes and student demonstrations, the ZANU-PF secured 117 of the 120 seats in the 1990 general election. However it was clear that Mugabe's popularity was starting to decline: the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) founded to challenge Mugabe 's commitment to the eventual introduction of a one-party state performed well in the urban areas and the nationwide turnout declined sharply (from 95% to 60%) compared to the two previous general elections.

In the 1990s, amid rising urban discontent fuelled by corruption scandals, falling real wages and the social consequences of the economic Structural Adjustment Programme adopted in 1991, the government became increasingly preoccupied with the land issue, which it continued to regard as the key to retaining its grip on power. New land acquisition legislation, which provided for the compulsory acquisition of land by the state, brought the government into conflict with the powerful white-dominated Commercial Farmers' Union and  with Western aid donors. The position of the president became more precarious when it was revealed that most of the first 98  farms acquired by compulsory purchase had been leased to prominent party figures and civil servants.

With no viable opposition since eight opposition groups had boycotted the election, the government won a fourth decisive election victory in April 1995. The High Court declared the election results invalid in one of Harare's constituencies, lending credence to opposition claims of widespread electoral malpractice. Nevertheless, the presidential election in March 1996 returned Mugabe to office.

map Political geography of ZimbabweMugabe encountered his first big setback in February 2000 in a referendum on the adoption of a new constitution, which, amongst others things gave Mugabe the right to stay in power for another ten years. In the urban areas in particular where support for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which had been formed in September 1999 under the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai was strong, the electorate voted to reject the constitution.

With an eye on the upcoming June 2000 elections, the government once again used the land issue in a campaign to restore its popularity. Illegal occupations by so-called war veterans were rumoured to have been organized in an attempt to  regain support. The occupations became increasingly violent and farmers who refused to give up their farms were declared 'enemies of the state'. In the period preceding the elections, the MDC was subjected to a campaign of intimidation and aggression and  34 people were killed. Nevertheless, the MDC secured 57 seats (the ZANU-PF 62) of the 120 seats in the House of Assembly. There were numerous reports of irregularities in the polls and international observers concluded that the elections had not been free and fair.

In the run ip to the presidential elections on 9 and 10 March 2002, in which Tsvangirai is running against Mugabe, Mugabe and the ZANU-PF have done all in their power to ensure that the MDC will not win. 

An opinion poll conducted by the University of Zimbabwe has given Tsvangirai a clear lead: 11.3% of the voters said they backed Mugabe compared with 19.8% for his opponent. The opinion poll, however, also reveals that 60% of voters are apparently too afraid to say who they support.

The election results

Zimbabwe election result 2002The final results of the three-day presidential elections, described by local and foreign observers as deeply flawed and unjust, differ greatly from those of the poll:
Robert Mugabe won 1,685,212 votes and Morgan Tsvangirai 1,258,401 votes. The official turnout was 3,130,913 or 55 %.    

For an analysis of the election results see the article by Patrick Bond and Raj Patel, "Zimbabwe Rip-off Poll"(15 March 2002):

Elections in Zimbabwe

Simbabwe 2000 : zwischen Aufbruchkrise und Abstiegsangst / Christian Peters-Berries. - Berlin : Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, 2001. - 54 p. : tab. - Omslagtitel: Simbabwe zwischen Aufbruchkrise und Abstiegsangst. - Met noten.

Briefing: Zimbabwe: life after ZANU-PF / Daniel Compagnon.
In: African Affairs: (2000), vol. 99, no. 396, p. 449-453

Carton jaune pour Mugabe: referendum surprise au Zimbabwe / Daniel Compagnon.
In: Politique africaine: (2000), no. 77, p. 107-116.i

Election observation mission Zimbabwe 2000 : observers report on National Assembly election in Zimbabwe 24-25 June 2000 / SADC Parliamentary Forum. - Windhoek : SADC Parliamentary Forum, 2000. - II, 71 p. : tab.  - Met bijl.

Terrorisme electoral au Zimbabwe / Daniel Compagnon.
In: Politique africaine: (2000), no. 78, p. 180-190.

book cover Election Observation Mission Zimbabwe 2000Zimbabwe : the 2000 elections making and breaking the rules / African Rights. - London : African Rights, 2000. - 23 p. - Omslagtiphone - Met noten.

Zimbabwe parliamentary elections 2000 : report of the NDI pre-election delegation, May 15-22, 2000 / National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI). - Harare : National Democratic Institute for International affairs (NDI), 2000. - 56 p. : foto's, krt., organogr. ; Met samenvatting.

Zimbabwean workers, the MDC & the 2000 election / Peter Alexander.
In: Review of African Political Economy: (2000), vol. 27, no. 85, p. 385-406 : graf., tab.

Elections with history : approaching constitutional development, party-system and electoral competition in Zimbabwe / Liisa Laakso. - Helsinki : Institute of Development Studies, University of Helsinki, 1997. - 20 bl. : fig. - Paper presented at Elections in Africa-workshop, IDS, Helsinki, 19-21.12.1996. - Bibliogr.: bl. 20. - Met noten.

Why are elections not democratic in Africa? : comparisons between the recent multi-party elections in Zimbabwe and Tanzania / Liisa Laakso.
In: Nordic Journal of African Studies: (1997), vol. 6, no. 1, p. 18-35.

Botswana et Zimbabwe : élections législatives : un éclairage comparatif / Daniel Compagnon.
In: L'Afrique politique: (1996), p. 207-243.

Relationship between the State and civil society in the Zimbabwean elections 1995 / Liisa Laakso.
In: The Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics: (1996), vol. 34, no. 3, p. 218-234.

ZANU PF presidential election manifesto : ZANU PF and the 1996 presidential election : Central Committee document / Department of Publicity and Information of ZANU PF. - Harare : ZANU PF, 1996. - VI, 34 p.

Zimbabwe 1995-96 : Wahlboykott, Demokratie und Reputation / Goswin Baumhoegger. - Hamburg : Institut fuer Afrika-Kunde, 1996. - 33 p. ; Omslagtiphone - Met bijl., noten.

ZimRights 1996 presidential election monitoring report / Zimbabwe Human Rights Association. - [S.l. : Zimbabwe Human Rights Association], 1996; Omslagtiphone - Met noten.

1995 general election monitoring report / Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZIMRIGHTS). ZimRights Information Department. - Harare [etc.] : Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZIMRIGHTS). ZimRights Information Department, 1995. - 18 bl. ; Omslagtitel: Election monitoring report. - Met bijl.

Forum party of Zimbabwe : 1995 general election report. - [S.l. : s.n.], 1995. - 10 p. ; Omslagtiphone

Zimbabwe: political discontent and low-level violence in the aftermath of the 1980 elections / E.P. Makambe.
In: Transafrican Journal of History: (1995), vol. 24, p. 1-22.

Voting without choosing, state and democratization in Zimbabwe / by Liisa Laakso. - Toronto : [African Studies Association], 1994. - 22 bl. ; Presented at the thirty-seventh annual meeting of the African Studies Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, November 3-6, 1994. - No. 1994:103. - Bibliogr.: p. 20-22. - Met noten.

Voting for democracy : a study of electoral politics in Zimbabwe / Jonathan N. Moyo. - Harare : University of Zimbabwe Publications, cop. 1992. - XII, 244 p. : fig., tab. ; Bibliogr.: p. 235-239. - Met index. ISBN 0-908307-25-X

The 1990 Zimbabwe elections: a post-mortem / Lloyd Sachikonye.
In: Review of African Political Economy: (1990), no. 48, p. 92-99.

Les élections générales de 1990 au Zimbabwe : une étape vers le parti unique? / Patrick Quantin.
In: Année africaine: (1989), 1990, p. 165-188.

Unities and disunities in Zimbabwe's 1990 election / by Christine Sylvester.
In: The Journal of Modern African Studies: (1990), vol. 28, no. 3, p. 375-400.

Zimbabwe : report on the 1985 general elections : based on a mission of the election observer project of the International Human Rights Law Group / Millard W. Arnold, Larry Garber, Brian Wrobel. - [Washington, D.C.] : International Human Rights Law Group, 1986. - 142 p. in verschillende pagineringen : tab. - Met bibliogr., bijl., noten.

Zimbabwe's 1985 elections : a search for national mythology / Christine Sylvester.
In: Journal of Modern African Studies: (1986), vol. 24, no. 2, p. 229-255 : tab.

Democratization in Zimbabwe

Democratic discourse? : realising alternatives in Zimbabwean political discourse / Alison Love.
In: Zambezia: (2000), vol. 27, no. 1, p. 27-45.

Die erosie van outokrasie in Zimbabwe / W.J. Breytenbach.
In: Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe: (2000), jg. 40, nr. 4, p. 265-275 : tab.

Electoral systems and democratization in Southern Africa / Andrew Reynolds. - Oxford [etc .] : Oxford University Press, 1999. - XIV, 341 p. : fig., krt., tab. - Bibliogr.: p. [309]-330. - Met index, noten. ISBN 0-19-829510-3

Land and democracy in Zimbabwe / Sam Moyo. - Harare : SAPES Books, 1999. - 27 p. : tab. - Omslagtiphone - Bibliogr.: p. 23-27. ISBN 1-7790-5080-1

Strengthening parliamentary democracy in Zimbabwe / Parliament of Zimbabwe, Parliamentary Reform Committee. - [S.l.] : Parliament of Zimbabwe, 1998-1999. - 2 dl. (111, 90 bl.). - Vol.1: Findings and recommendations. - 1998. - Vol.2: Implementation proposals and summary of evidence. - 1999. - Omslagtiphone - Met bijl., samenvatting.

Civil society and the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe / Masipula Sithole.
In: Quest: (1998), vol. 12, no. 1, p. 27-38.

Development and democracy in Zimbabwe / John Mw. Makumbe. - Harare : SAPES Books, 1998. - 96 p. : tab. - Omslagtitel: Democracy and development in Zimbabwe : constraints of decentralisation. - Bibliogr.: p. [89]-93. - Met index, noten. ISBN 1-7790-5042-9 pbk.

Kirchliche Förderung von Demokratie und Menschenrechten : das Beispiel der 'Katholischen Kommission für Gerechtigkeit und Frieden in Zimbabwe' / Wolfgang S. Heinz.
In: Afrika Spectrum: (1996), Jg. 31, H. 1, p. 81-91.

NGO advocacy, democracy and policy development : some examples relating to environmental policies in Zimbabwe and Botswana / Alan Thomas.
In: The Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics: (1996), vol. 34, no. 1, p. 38-65 : krt.

Zimbabwe 1995-96 : Wahlboykott, Demokratie und Reputation / Goswin Baumhoegger. - Hamburg : Institut für Afrika-Kunde, 1996. - 33 p.  - Omslagtiphone - Met bijl., noten.

Ethnicity and democratization in Zimbabwe: from confrontation to accommodation / Masipula Sithole.
In: Ethnic conflict and democratization in Africa / ed. by Harvey Glickman. - Atlanta, Ga. : African Studies Association Press: (1995), p. 121-160 : graf., tab.

Gender, politics and democracy : kuvaka patsva (reconstructing) - the discourse / Kwanele Ona Jirira.
In: SAFERE: (1995), vol. 1, no. 2, p. 1-29.

Keeping a live voice : 15 years of democracy in Zimbabwe / prod. by Edwina Spicer ; music: John Oakley-Smith. - Harare : Edwina Spicer Productions, 1995. - 1 videocassette (54 min.). : kleur, geluid. Engels gesproken.

State building and democracy in Southern Africa : Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa / Pierre du Toit. - Washington, D.C. : United States Institute of Peace Press, 1995. - XIII, 355 p. : ill. - Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 1-87837-950-X; ISBN 1-87837-946-1 pbk

Beyond the house of hunger: democratic struggle in Zimbabwe / Brian Raftopoulos.
In: Review of African Political Economy: (1992), no. 54, p. 59-74. No. 55, p. 57-66.

Le multipartisme pour quoi faire? : les limites du débat politique: Kenya, Ouganda, Tanzanie, Zimbabwe / Denis-Constant Martin.
In: Politique africaine: (1991), no. 43, p. 21-30.

The one-party State and democracy : the Zimbabwe debate / ed. Ibbo Mandaza, Lloyd M. Sachikonye. - Harare : Southern Africa Political Economy (SAPES) Trust, cop. 1991. - IX, 202 p. : krt. - Bibliogr.: p. 189-193. - Met indices, noten. ISBN 0-7974-0972-6

The debate on democracy in contemporary Zimbabwe / L.M. Sachikonye.
In: Review of African Political Economy: (1989), no. 45/46, p. 117-125.

Democracy and the one-party State debate in Africa : the case of Zimbabwe / Masipula Sithole.
In: Democracy and the one-party-State in Africa / Peter Meyns, Dani Wadada Nabudere (eds.). - Hamburg : Institut für Afrika-Kunde: (1989), p. 149-177 : tab.

Zimbabwe: in search of a stable democracy / Masipula Sithole.
In: Democracy in developing countries / ed. by Larry Diamond, Juan J. Linz, Seymour Martin Lipset. - Boulder, Col. [etc.] : Lynne Rienner Publishers [etc.]. - Vol. 2: Africa: (1988), p. 216-257 : graf., krt.

Reds and rights : Zimbabwe's experiment / Richard L. Sklar.
In: Democracy and pluralism in Africa / ed. by Dov Ronen: (1986), p. 135-144.

Political parties and political leaders

Mugabe : power and plunder in Zimbabwe / Martin Meredith. - Oxford : PublicAffairs, 2002. - 243 p. : krt. ; 25 cm
Ook o.d.t. : Our votes, our guns. - Bibliogr.: p. [229]-231. - Met index.
ISBN 1-903985-28-5

The end of Mugabe? / Willie Breytenbach.
In: Africa Insight: (2001), vol. 30, no. 3/4, p. 45-50 : foto, tab.

The alchemy of Robert Mugabe's alliances / David Moore.
In: Africa Insight: (2000), vol. 30, no. 1, p. 28-32 : foto, krt.

Constitution of the Zimbabwe African People's Union (Z.A.P.U.). - [S.l.] : Zimbabwe African People's Union (Z.A.P.U.), [ca.1999]. - [15] bl. ; 30 cm. - Omslagtiphone

Obituary : Dr. Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo (1917-1999) / Department of Information and Publicity ZANU, Headquarters, Harare. - Harare : Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications Publication, 1999. - 16 p., [14] p. foto's

National heroes of Zimbabwe : role models for our youth : " youth with a history and vision" / ZANU PF Department of Information and Publicity. - rev. - Harare : ZANU PF Department of Information and Publicity, 1998. - 83 p. : foto's. - Op de omslag: 21st February Movement. - Oorspr. uitg.: 1997.

The report of the ZANU PF Central Committee to the Fourth National People's Conference held at Gweru Teachers' College (11th to 13th December 1998) / presented by R.G. Mugabe. - [S.l.] : Department of Administration in collaboration with the Department of Information and Publicity ZANU PF headquarters, 1998. - III, 63 p. : tab. - Omslagtitel: The Central Committee Report.

Strengthening multi-partyism on a regional base / Michael Schlicht. - Harare : Konrad Adenauer Foundation, 1998. - 93 p.

Afrique du Sud, Zimbabwe: vers des partis uniques de fait? / Alexander Johnston.
In: Afrique contemporaine: (1997), no. 184, p. 13-25.

Constitution of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front ZANU PF. - [S.l.] : Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front), [ca.1996]. - 35 p. - Op de omslag: Party constitution. - Op de omslag: People's national conference ITF - Bulawayo 13th - 14th December 1996; theme: Mass mobilisation for economic development. - Met index

Margaret Dongo, nouveau herault de la democratie au Zimbabwe / Daniel Compagnon.
In: Politique africaine: (1996), no. 61, p. 122-127.

Whither opposition in Zimbabwe? / by Christine Sylvester.
book cover ZANU (PF) and economic independenceIn: The Journal of Modern African Studies: (1995), vol. 33, no. 3, p. 403-423. 

ZANU (PF) and economic independence / N.C.G. Mathema. - Harare : Mathema Publications, 1994. - 169 p. : ill., graf., tab. - Omslagtitel ISBN 0-7974-1152-6

International politics and national liberation : ZANU and the politics of contested sovereignty in Zimbabwe / William Cyrus Reed.
In: African Studies Review: (1993), vol. 36, no. 2, p. 31-59.

Is Zimbabwe poised on a liberal path? : the State and prospects of the parties / Masipula Sithole.
In: Issue: (1993), vol. 21, no. 1/2, p. 35-43.

Qui gouverne le Zimbabwe? : esquisse d'un portrait de groupe / par Patrick Quantin. - Talence-Cedex : Centre d'Etude d'Afrique Noire, Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Bordeaux, 1992. - 19 p.  - (Travaux et documents, ISSN 0298-8879 ; no. 33). Publié avec le concours de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme d'Aquitaine. - Met noten, samenvatting in het Frans en Engels. ISBN 2-908065-13-4

Growing opposition in Zimbabwe / Virginia Curtin Knight.
In: Issue: (1991/92), vol. 20, no. 1, p. 23-30.

Global incorporation, ideology, and public policy in Zimbabwe / Wm. [i.e. William] Cyrus Reed.
In: Issue: (1987), vol. 15, p. 49-59.

Towards the one-party state in Zimbabwe : a study in African political thought / William H. Shaw.
In: Journal of Modern African Studies: (1986), vol. 24, no. 3, p. 373-394

The story of my life / Nkomo. - London : Methuen, 1984. - XIV, 270 p., 16 p. pl. : ill. - Met index. ISBN 0-413-54500-8

Our war of liberation : speeches, articles, interviews, 1976-1979 / by Robert Gabriel Mugabe. - Gweru : Mambo Press, 1983. - 215 p. ; ISBN 0-86922-273-2

Mugabe / David Smith. - London : Sphere, 1981. - 217p, [16]p of plates. : 1ill.  - ISBN 0-7221-7868-9 pbk

The changing of the old guard : Robert Mugabe and the revival of ZANU / Terence Ranger.
In: Journal of Southern African Studies: (1980/81), vol. 7, no. 1, p. 71-90.

Selected web resources

Elections, government

The Electoral Institute of Southern  Africa
Contains daily updated information on the 2002 elections in Zimbabwe.

Parliament of Zimbabwe

Movement for Democratic Change
The official website of Zimbabwe's main opposition party

Media, news - national

The Financial Gazette 
A Harare-based independent weekly newspaper

The Herald
The Harare-based daily of the ZANU-PF

The Zimbabwe Independent 
A Harare-based independent weekly newspaper

Zimbabwe Standard
A Harare-based independent weekly newspaper

Media, news - international

BBC News Zimbabwe
Contains election updates by province, profiles of the key players, personal testimonies

The BBC also has a Zimbabwe country profile which gives an overview of the country, including key facts, details about political leaders and notes on the media:

InFocus Zimbabwe

The land issue

The Land Issue in Zimbabwe
Article by Vicky da Silva (Electoral Institute of Southern Africa), 25 February 2002

Fast Track Land Reform in Zimbabwe
Human Rights Watch Publications vol. 14, no. 1 (A) March 2002

Zimbabwe: Land Reform and Resettlement
UNDP interim mission report,  January 2002

Human rights

NGO Network Alliance Project
A homepage for Zimbabwean activists aiming to improve the accessibility of human rights and civic information in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
Contains links to a number of organizations that deal with human rights and legal aid for victims of political violence