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n Journal of African Elections - Land, indigenisation and empowerment - narratives that made a difference in Zimbabwe's 2013 elections

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Abstract

The 2013 harmonised elections held in Zimbabwe after the termination of the SADC-facilitated Government of National Unity elicited unprecedented comment following another resounding 'win' by the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF). This article reflects on the election and argues that while competitive authoritarianism contributed significantly to the party's 'landslide victory', it is slipshod to ignore the centrality to its electoral success of Zanu-PF's populist stance with respect to land, indigenisation and empowerment. The article also examines the significance of hate speech as a negative campaign strategy employed by Zanu-PF to portray the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the most negative light. It concludes that the election was reduced to 'fantasies of salvation' by President Robert Mugabe as a charismatic leader, primarily because the electorate was seduced into viewing Zanu-PF as the most credible party to pull the country out of the economic quagmire through its land, indigenisation, empowerment, 'pro-poor' and anti-Western policies. These policies resonated well with the growing numbers of wage-less youthful voters, who constitute more than 60% of the country's population.

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/content/eisa_jae/13/2/EJC163256
2014-10-01
2016-12-03
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