The next few months will test the Zimbabwe new regime’s stated commitment to a return to democracy.

Nov 28, 2017

Tawanda Chimhini is the director of the Election Resource Center in Harare, Zimbabwe.

After 37 years in office, President Robert Mugabe has finally relinquished power, and Zimbabwe suddenly finds itself with an opportunity for desperately needed political reform. Yet the ruling party and the old system of government remain firmly in place. Mugabe’s departure will count for little if the new president does not make fundamental changes to what he himself has called the “poisoned” domestic political landscape.

Before President Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in on Nov. 24, he pledged to build a “new democracy” and committed himself to elections. Immediately following his swearing in, he announced that his government intends to move swiftly to national elections rather than to try to establish some sort of inclusive government. He also assured the public that the vote will be held between July 23 and Aug. 22, 2018, as originally scheduled.