Assessing Zimbabwe’s Election and Prospects for a Democratic Transition

June 14, 2018
12:00 pm - 04:00 pm

About the event

Watch a recording of the event here.

Zimbabwe’s elections, scheduled for July 30, 2018, offers the promise of a democratic breakthrough. The people of Zimbabwe have seen encouraging signs including promises of reform by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, shifting political alignments vying for power, and the number of registered voters increase. Even so, Zimbabweans have reason to remain skeptical. The pace and extent of reform is unclear, and rigging and violence have marred past elections. Yet, the perception of a potential opening has led regional actors and the international community to become more engaged in the country. Pre-electoral assessment missions by NDI and IRI have just returned from Zimbabwe, and business and labor groups are preparing to make significant contributions to the elections. At this forum, leading political scientists, policy-makers, and activists provided an assessment of the prospects and challenges Zimbabwe will face during the election period.

Panel I: Assessing the election environment

  • Imani Countess, Africa Program Director, Solidarity Center
  • Elizabeth Lewis, Deputy Director for Africa, International Republican Institute (IRI)
  • Patrick Merloe, Senior Associate and Director for Electoral Programs, National Democratic Institute (NDI)

Moderated by Natalie Kay, Program Officer for East and Southern Africa, National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

Panel II: Beyond the election: Prospects for a democratic transition

  • Alex Magaisa, Reagan-Fascell Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
  • Ibbo Mandaza, Executive Director, SAPES Trust
  • Lars Benson, Regional Director for Africa, Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)
  • Thomas R. Hastings, Acting Director, Office of Southern African Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Moderated by Irene Petras, Former Director, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights