British think-tank predicts Mnangagwa 2023 landslide

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, pictured, who replaced long-time ruler Robert Mugabe in July ©Getty Images
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HARARE – Inspite of the current social and economic challenges in the country induced by Covid-19 and drought, the British-based Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) expects President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the ruling Zanu PF party to win the next presidential and legislative elections due in 2023.

In the last election in 2018, President Mnangagwa secured 50.8 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a run-off against his main opponent, Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance.

Chamisa won 44.3 percent of the vote, with the remainder spread among 21 other candidates.

In the legislative segment of the poll, Zanu PF secured more than two-thirds majority in parliament, winning 179 out of 270 seats.

“The next presidential and legislative elections are due in 2023. We expect President Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF to win, given their stranglehold on the political scene,” the EIU said in its latest report.

The EIU said it expected the challenges that the country was facing to start easing in the coming few years on the back of predicted upturns in power generation, agriculture and mining, among other factors.

This, it said, would ultimately lead to an improvement in the country’s foreign currency reserves, which in turn would stabilise the local currency and tame current hyper inflation.

“From 2022 onwards the economic crisis will slowly abate, driven by improvements in energy production and in agriculture and mining output. This will improve Zimbabwe’s foreign reserves position, supporting the currency and moderating inflation,” the EIU said.

The opposition in Zimbabwe often thrives when the country is going through social and economic difficulties, as is the case now, which they routinely seek to buttress for political expediency by advocating for continued crippling western sanctions.

The West, angered by the country’s land reforms in which the authorities compulsorily acquired excess farmland from white farmers to resettle landless peasants, slapped sanctions on the country two decades ago which have worsened its economic difficulties.

Part of the sanctions include barring Zimbabwe from accessing financial support from international lenders such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and blacklisting some of the country’s leading exporting companies to deprive it of export receipts.

The government estimates the sanctions have cost the country more than US$100 billion in economic damage over the two decades they have been in force.

The prediction of President Mnangagwa and Zanu PF’s victory in the next poll by the EIU is the latest blow to hit the opposition, particularly Chamisa’s party which is grappling with sharp divisions and infighting.

His party has literally split in two in the last two months, and Chamisa’s presidency is under challenge even in his breakaway party faction.

The splits, which have led to recalls of some of the MDC Alliance’s legislators from parliament, are likely to rage on till the next election, analysts have said, handing Zanu PF an upper-hand.

“With growing confidence in policy formation—combined with rising real wages and better availability of essential goods—political stability will improve,” the EIU said.
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