2013 Zimbabwean general election

2013 Zimbabwean presidential election

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  Robert Mugabe May 2015 (cropped).jpg Morgan Tsvangirai Oslo 2009 A.jpg
Nominee Robert Mugabe Morgan Tsvangirai
Popular vote 2,110,434 1,172,349
Percentage 61.09% 34.94%

House of Assembly Zimbabwe 2013.svg
Composition of the House of Assembly

President before election

Robert Mugabe

Elected President

Robert Mugabe

General elections were held in Zimbabwe on 31 July 2013.[1] Incumbent President Robert Mugabe was re-elected, whilst his ZANU–PF party won a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly.


This was the first election held under the new constitution approved in a referendum in March 2013[2] and signed into law by President Robert Mugabe on 22 May.[3] The Supreme Court ruled on 31 May that President Mugabe should set a date as soon as possible, and that presidential and parliamentary elections must be held by 31 July.[4] The ruling followed an application to the court by a Zimbabwean citizen, Jealousy Mawarire,[5] demanding that the country's president set the date for elections before the expiry of the tenure of the seventh parliament, on 29 June 2013. Under the new constitution the winner of the presidential election would serve a five-year term.


Presidential candidates

Parliamentary candidates

Most of Zimbabwe's 2010 districts had candidates from all of the three major parties: ZANU-PF, one of the two formulations of the MDC, and ZAPU. Minor party candidates and independents rounded out the field in some districts.


In accepting the election date, Tsvangirai said that reforms should have preceded the election, as he began his election campaign. He also claimed that the country wanted to vote Mugabe out.[13] Launching his election campaign, Mugabe called it "a do or die struggle" while making a strong appeal for a peaceful campaign. In the same speech, he warned that he could take Zimbabwe out of SADC "if SADC decides to do stupid things".[14] Although there were initial discussions about forming a grand coalition between the two MDC parties and other opposition parties,[15][16] by 9 July two separate coalitions had been formed, one comprising MDC-T, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn and ZANU-Ndonga,[17] and the other coalition comprising MDC and ZAPU.[18]


During the campaign, party regalia was supplied by the two main political parties in huge quantities. MDC-T supporters wore red apparel,[19] whilst ZANU-PF supporters wore a variety of colours borrowed from the national flag.[20]

Accusations of unfairness

Allegations were made in 2011, that a third of registered voters were dead or aged 120 (in a country with a life expectancy of 44).[21] These accusations were repeated in 2013, with the additional claim that a considerable number of young voters had not been registered.[22] The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a local observer group with 7,000 monitors, listed a litany of offences, including state media bias, a campaign of intimidation in rural areas, and the rushed electoral process before key reforms to the security services were in place. But the most effective measure was tampering with the electoral rolls. Held back until the day before the election – thus avoiding proper scrutiny – the roll revealed an estimated one million invalid names, including many deceased voters. It excluded up to one million real ones, mostly in urban areas where MDC support is strongest.[23]

On the day of the elections, one of Zimbabwe's electoral commissioners resigned. In his resignation letter, Mkhululi Nyathi of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission wrote, "I do not wish to enumerate the many reasons of my resignation, but they all have to do with the manner the Zimbabwe 2013 harmonised elections were proclaimed and conducted."[24]

The Electoral Commission later reported that approximately 305,000 voters were turned away from polls, with an additional 207,000 voters being "assisted" in casting their ballots.[25] There were also more than 100,000 centenarian ghost voters on the electoral roll.[26]

On 9 August 2013, the Movement for Democratic Change sought to have the results declared null and void.[27] A week later they withdrew their petition.[28] Despite their withdrawal the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe ruled that the election was "free, fair and credible".[29]


Robert Mugabe won 61 percent of the vote to claim a sixth term as president, and was sworn in on Thursday 22 August. Morgan Tsvangirai finished second with 34 per cent of the vote.[30] Mugabe's ZANU-PF party also dominated the parliamentary election winning 160 seats. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party won 49 seats.[31]

Reports by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network monitoring group said as many as one million people, mostly in urban areas (which tend to favour the MDC), were unable to cast votes.[31] Other reports suggested that people had been forced to vote for Mugabe.[32] The African Union also had monitors in place and said the election could have been handled better, but that initial reports indicated a fair election had occurred. Western groups were not allowed to send monitors.[31]


Candidate Party Votes %
Robert Mugabe ZANU–PF 2,110,434 61.09
Morgan Tsvangirai Movement for Democratic Change–T 1,172,349 33.94
Welshman Ncube Movement for Democratic Change–N 92,637 2.68
Dumiso Dabengwa Zimbabwe African People's Union 25,416 0.74
Kisinoti Mukwazhe Zimbabwe Development Party 9,931 0.29
Invalid/blank votes 69,280
Total 3,480,047 100
Registered voters/turnout 5,874,115 59.24
Source: ElectionGuide

National Assembly

Party Votes % Seats
Elected Women Total
ZANU–PF 2,116,116 62.39 159 37 196
MDC-T 1,027,412 30.29 49 21 70
MDC-N 159,274 4.70 0 2 2
ZAPU 14,312 0.42 0 0 0
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn 6,713 0.20 0 0 0
United Movement for Democracy 1,445 0.04 0 0 0
ZANU-Ndonga 1,152 0.03 0 0 0
FreeZim Congress 739 0.02 0 0 0
Alliance Khumbula Ekhaya 380 0.01 0 0 0
Progressive and Innovative Movement of Zimbabwe 351 0.01 0 0 0
Freedom Front 200 0.01 0 0 0
CTD 147 0.00 0 0 0
Zimbabwe Development Party 145 0.00 0 0 0
People's Democratic Union 76 0.00 0 0 0
Zimbabwe People's Movement 70 0.00 0 0 0
Voice of the People 38 0.00 0 0 0
Independents[a] 63,011 1.86 2 0 2
Invalid/blank votes
Total 3,391,581 100 210 60 270
Registered voters/turnout
Source: Adam Carr, Election Passport

a Both the elected independent MPs had failed to win the ZANU-PF nomination for their constituencies.[33]


Party Votes % Seats
ZANU–PF 2,120,634 62.79 37
MDC-T 1,008,023 29.85 21
MDC-N 158,263 4.69 2
Alliance Khumbula Ekhaya 0
Freedom Front 0
FreeZim Congress 0
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn 0
People's Democratic Union 0
Progressive and Innovative Movement of Zimbabwe 0
United Movement for Democracy 0
Voice of the People 0
ZANU-Ndonga 0
Zimbabwe Development Party 0
Zimbabwe People's Movement 0
Independents 0
Chiefs 18
People with disabilities 2
Invalid/blank votes
Total 3,377,276 80
Registered voters/turnout 5,874,115 57
Source: ZEC, ElectionGuide



The elections were called a "huge farce" by Tsvangirai who said the country was "in mourning" about the results. He claimed over a million voters were turned away from the polling stations, and said the Movement for Democratic Change would no longer work with Mugabe nor participate in government institutions.[31][34] He promised to fight the results in court and diplomatically.[31]


  • African Union – The African Union declared that the elections were "free, honest and credible."[35]
  •  Botswana – The government of President Ian Khama has called for an audit of the election results and the Foreign Minister, Phandu Skelemani, has stated that "various incidents and circumstances were revealed that call into question whether the entire electoral process, and thus its final result, can be recognised as having been fair, transparent and credible."[36]
  •  Mozambique – President Armando Guebuza demanded that the elections be a topic of the 2013 SADC Summit in Lilongwe, Malawi.[37]
  •  Mauritius – The Prime Minister, Navin Ramgoolam, congratulated President Mugabe and expressed his view that ZANU-PF's victory will usher in a new era of prosperity and peace for Zimbabweans.[38]
  •  NamibiaPresident Hifikepunye Pohamba congratulated Mugabe and Zimbabwe for holding free and peaceful elections and stated to Mugabe: "The people of Zimbabwe have once again demonstrated their trust and confidence in the Zanu PF and your personal leadership."[39]
  •  South AfricaPresident Jacob Zuma congratulated Mugabe for securing a seventh term in office. A statement was issued by the South African Foreign Ministry saying: "President Zuma urges all political parties in Zimbabwe to accept the outcome of the elections as election observers reported it to be an expression of the will of the people."[40]
  •  SADC – The Southern African Development Community called the election "free and peaceful" but reserved judgement on its fairness. On 15 August, it apologised for calling the elections credible in spite of evidence that there were many irregularities.[41]
  •  Australia – The Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, was critical of the election stating: "These appear to have disenfranchised large numbers of voters and raised doubts about the credibility of the election results. Given our doubts about the results, Australia calls for a re-run of the elections based on a verified and agreed voters roll."[40]
  •  European Union – The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Ashton, said "the EU is concerned about alleged irregularities and reports of incomplete participation, as well as the identified weaknesses in the electoral process and a lack of transparency."[42]
  •  RussiaPresident Vladimir Putin congratulated Mugabe on his victory and congratulated Zimbabwe for holding "peaceful and credible elections."[43]
  •  United Kingdom – The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, voiced "grave concerns" about the conduct of the election. Hague said there were "serious" questions about the credibility of the election, because of irregularities both in the run-up to the ballot and on polling day.[44]
  •  United States – The United States said the results were not a "credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people".[31]


Mugabe was sworn in for his new term as president on 22 August 2013 at a ceremony in Harare. Speaking at the ceremony, he promised economic growth, focusing on mining: "The mining sector will be the centrepiece of our economic recovery and growth. It should generate growth spurts across the sector, reignite that economic miracle which must now happen."[45]

The members of the National Assembly and the Senate were sworn in for the new parliamentary term on 3 September 2013. Given ZANU-PF's large majority of seats, its candidates for the posts of Speaker of the National Assembly and President of the Senate were assured of election, and the MDC-T did not present candidates for the posts. ZANU-PF's candidates were elected without opposition on the same day: in the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda as Speaker and Mabel Chinomona as Deputy Speaker, and in the Senate, Edna Madzongwe as president and Chenhamo Chimutengwende as vice-president. MDC-T MPs boycotted the vote that elected Mudenda as Speaker.[46]

On 10 September 2013, Mugabe appointed his new cabinet.[47] The cabinet line-up was generally characterised as rewarding veteran ZANU-PF hardliners, who were appointed to most of the key posts: Patrick Chinamasa as Minister of Finance, Emmerson Mnangagwa as Minister of Justice, Sydney Sekeramayi as Minister of Defense, and Jonathan Moyo as Minister of Information.[48] However, some posts went to ZANU-PF moderates and younger politicians.[49]

President Mugabe opened Parliament on 17 September 2013. On that occasion he vowed that "the indigenisation programme is to be pursued with renewed vigour".[50]


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