Please note: this article was originally written by Kurt Davis Jr, an investment banker working in economies across Africa, for the website Moguldom. The sharing of this article is not an endorsement of his views or a comment on the political situation in Zimbabwe.
The peaceful military coup on the evening of Nov. 14, 2017 culminated in the resignation of President Robert Mugabe on Nov. 21 and the installation of ousted Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa, a longtime ally of Mugabe, was sacked by Mugabe reportedly at the favor of Grace Mugabe, wife of Robert, who had expressed interest in taking up the position.
The removal of President Mugabe effectively eliminates the potential presidential rise of Grace Mugabe, consequently opening the door in 2018 for Mnangagwa, also a member of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZAN-PF) party.
All that said, the removal of the Mugabes from the presidential palace after nearly 20 years opens the door for speculation on potential contestants for the higher office.
The main opposition will come from the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T), led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai has been the key opposition figure against Mugabe, contesting in the 2002 presidential election (which Mugabe won with 56 percent) and the 2008 presidential election (which Mugabe won with 86 percent in the runoff).
Although the Organisation of African Unity concluded that the 2002 elections were “transparent, credible, free and fair”, the Commonwealth of Nations, Western governments, and Norwegian observers challenged that assessment with the Commonwealth of Nations also suspending Zimbabwe for a year.
The 2008 elections began with Tsvangirai winning about 48 percent in the first round to Mugabe’s 43 percent, but Tsvangirai dropped out before the 2nd round, blaming widespread violence and risks to voters as the primary reasons that the runoff would be a “sham.”
Having served as prime minister nevertheless from 2009 to 2013 after the 2008 election, Tsvangirai’s political craftiness should not be underestimated. The main deterring factor may be his health and his ability to overcome colon cancer. Much speculation suggests that he will sit out the 2018 election which would essentially hamstring the MDC-T party.
Beyond ZANU-PF and MDC-T, there is Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (now the National Alliance for Democracy) led by Simba Makoni, a former minister of finance and economic development in Mugabe’s cabinet from 2000 to 2002.
His history with Mugabe is as colorful and contentious as Tsvangirai. Maybe Makoni runs in 2018. Or academic Ibbo Mandaza may run, but he will have to overcome a poor track record as editor-in-chief of the defunct publication, “The Sunday Mirror”.
Jonathan Moyo, former minister of higher education (2015-2017) and former minister of information (2000-2005, 2013-2015), will be lurking after being expelled from the government and the ZANU-PF…he left the party in 2005 and returned in 2011 (so not unfamiliar ground to be on the outside).
Who will win? Zimbabweans win if the election still happens in 2018. If the election happens, transitional President Mnangagwa likely wins with Tsvangirai likely not representing MDC-T due to health (or not having the full energy to launch an energetic campaign).
The remaining opposition has a lot of question marks. But you can expect someone (after the dust settles) to launch a serious campaign to at least force a public discussion on economic growth, jobs, and the future of Zimbabwe (Zimbabweans are excited for a conversation on the future of the country).
You can see the original article at: https://moguldom.com/141483/top-election-predictions-for-africa-in-2018/
Written by: Kurt Davis Junior
Edited by: Hannah O’Riordan, ZET Operations Manager