Will 2012 Zimbabwe Elections Be Free and Fair?

2012 holds the potential for tremendous change in Zimbabwe. The Global Political Agreement, signed in 2008 by the two main political parties—Zanu-PF, led by longtime President Robert Mugabe, and MDC, led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai—created a unity government and outlined a path to the next elections. A major provision of the GPA states that the drafting and ratification of a new constitution is a necessary prerequisite before elections can take place.

Zanu-PF attempted to go forward with elections in 2011 without a new constitution and faced significant pushback from the international community, including the regional Southern African Development Community. Zanu-PF continues to press for elections, and it remains uncertain when a new constitution will be up for a vote. Some observers say both of these highly contentious events may happen in 2012.

Dewa Mavhinga, regional coordinator for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa grantee, talks in this video about the main issues facing the passage of a new constitution and the prospect of holding elections. He also discusses how the international community can positively contribute to this process.

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