n Journal of African Elections - The role of the Southern African development community in the management of Zimbabwe's post-election crisis

Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-4700



The political crisis that beset Zimbabwe following its harmonised elections in March 2008 and the controversial presidential run-off poll in June of the same year has triggered heated debate among academics and policy-makers alike. This paper joins this debate. It proposes an analytical framework for our understanding of the crisis and its political ramifications for democratisation in Zimbabwe. In this regard, it problematises the key question, whether or not elections are meaningful to those who have voted if political elites are able to form a government by other means. It unravels the underlying factors behind the post-election crisis, one of these being Zimbabwe's long trajectory of ZANU-PF's political hegemony to the detriment of a viable multipartyism. It investigates SADC's intervention through mediation and how far this has taken the country on its democratisation path. While a political settlement has been achieved with the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), the extent to which the key political players adhere to and observe the letter and spirit of the agreement remains moot.

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