“It is an election that is contested. I find it very difficult to qualify this election to be valid, because even SADC itself have expressed concern about holding elections in such a short period of time with a number of outstanding issues, including the vote as well,” Tjiurimo Hengari, Head of South African Foreign Policy and African Drivers Programme at the South African Institute of International Affairs, told CNBC Africa on Monday.
While general elections are expected to be free and fair, void of intimidation and protecting the secrecy of a vote, Zimbabwe’s early release of Robert Mugabe’s landslide victory over Morgan Tsvangirai indicated otherwise.
The African Union (AU) and South African Development Community (SADC), however, accepted the election to be valid in terms of the process meeting the particular standards.
“When you look at the reports coming from the two external observer missions, the AU and SADC, they gave this election a qualified yes but I think there has been some reservations on their part when it comes to whether everything was followed,” Hengari explained.
Zimbabwe’s economy is however reported to be on the path to recovery, with many expecting the growth to continue, despite the tumultuous political climate.
“It’s also important to underline the fact that between 1998 and 2008, which was really the height of the political crisis in Zimbabwe, the economy contracted. The economic growth story only became possible with the Government of National Unity. There was increasing confidence in the economy, there was a degree of political stability, so that allowed for the economy to grow by 11 per cent up to 2011 and five per cent last year,” said Hengari.
The removal of the Zimbabwean dollar also added to the economic growth as it eased inflationary pressure on the economy.
The current political climate is nonetheless uncertain, and could have a profound impact in the country’s economic direction.
“Investors wanted to go to Zimbabwe after this election. I think they’ll think twice, with the European Union expressing concern about the final outcome of the election. I don’t see European investors flocking to Zimbabwe. The same applies to the United States, which also expressed concern with the outcome of the election. Zimbabwe was supposed to move to somewhere but unfortunately Zimbabwe is moving nowhere.”