Zimbabwe. In April, leaders of the opposition party Democratic Change Movement (MDC) demanded that party leader Morgan Tsvangirai resign. The party’s national council accused Tsvangirai of negligent leadership and of using the party to achieve its own ends. The decision was condemned by Tsvangirai, who in turn replied with the exclusion of the party’s secretary general and eight other party members from the MDC. In November, however, Tsvangirai was re-elected as party leader for another five years.
During the year, there was also an infected discussion within the ZANU-PF government party about who would eventually replace Robert Mugabe as party leader. According to Countryaah.com, Zimbabwe population in 2020 is estimated at 14,862,935. Mugabe’s wife Grace had already been highlighted as a possible successor, a rumor that was strengthened when Grace Mugabe at the party congress in December was appointed chairman of the party’s women’s association. At the congress, Mugabe was re-elected as party chairman, but the country’s vice president, Joice Mujuru, and seven ministers were fired after accusations that they had conspired against Mugabe. Mujuru, who was previously considered a possible successor to Mugabe, was also accused of trying to assassinate the president. Former Deputy Minister of Justice, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was elected new Vice President.
In October, Grace Mugabe was awarded a doctorate in sociology from the University of Harare. The nomination was heavily questioned, partly because of uncertainty over how long Mugabe studied at the university and the fact that the president’s wife was awarded the title by her husband. The country’s unified student forces demanded an inquiry to clarify on what grounds Mugabe had been awarded the prestigious title.
In the autumn, the EU announced that the Union’s aid to the country would resume after several years of frozen aid in response to the regime’s harassment and violence against oppositionists. The EU’s decision was directly linked to the parliamentary and presidential elections held last year. The Union also chose to ease the sanctions against the Mugabe circle to include only the Presidential couple Robert and Grace Mugabe.
The Constitutional Commission barged with a new constitution in early 2013. It was sent to a referendum in March and passed with 94.5% of the vote. The most important changes to the previous constitution were: that the president was limited to two terms of 5 years and was deprived of the right to veto passed laws in parliament; the post of Prime Minister was abolished; an independent state prosecutor’s office was established; a Reconciliation Commission and an Anti-Corruption Commission were set up; dual citizenship was allowed; the right to legally change land reform was abolished. Following the referendum, the new constitution was also passed in parliament.
In line with the new constitution, parliamentary and presidential elections were held in July. Mugabe won the presidential election with 61.1% of the vote over Morgan Tsvangirai, gaining 34.9%. The 89-year-old Mugabe could thus begin the probably penultimate of his presidential terms. ZANU-PF received 197 seats in the 270 seat National Assembly, while the MDC had to settle for 70. In the Senate, ZANU-PF received 37 seats while the MDC got 21. While the African states and SADC termed the election as “generally free and fair”, the result rejected by the Western colonial states. Tsvangirai referred to the election as a farce and tried to get the Supreme Court to cancel the result, which failed. A member of the National Election Commission withdrew from his post on the very day of the election, declaring: “I am unable to list all the reasons I have for my resignation,
In May 2014, Amnesty International criticized the failure to implement the Constitution’s human rights guarantees in the country’s legislation. There were still many restrictions on human rights written into the laws of public order, security and criminal law. On May 3, police banned the conduct of a demonstration in Harare on the occasion of Global Freedom Press Day. On April 28, the editor of the NewsDay newspaper, Nevanji Madanhire and a journalist from the same newspaper was charged with the Criminal Code for publishing an article laying down some of the responsibility for the death of a 4 year old in the police. The little boy was dead when police pursued a minibus, which subsequently drove the boy down.
In January 2015, Mugabe was elected President of the AU for a 1-year term at the Union’s annual meeting in Addis Ababa. In 1997-98 he was chairman of the predecessor, OAU. In November, he declared his readiness to stand again for the 2018 presidential election. He will then be 94 years old. ZANU-PF accepted his candidacy. In February 16, he noted that he had no plans to resign and intended to continue until he died. His health, however, is failing.
In February 2015, the EU resumed assistance to Zimbabwe after 12 years of sanctions. The aid package was DKK 237 million. € over a 5 year period. In April, the European Parliament condemned the disappearance of Itai Dzamara the month before. Itai was a human rights activist and had been the leader of Occupy Africa Unity Square, modeled on the protest movements in North Africa during the Arab Spring of 2011.