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A Dictator’s Guide to Rigging Elections: Lessons Learned from Zimbabwe’s Puppet Master written by Jenai Cox Senior Program Officer, Africa
Synopsis of the article
This article was written by Jenai Cox a Senior Program Officer, of Freedom House; an independent American based human rights watchdog with its offices in Zimbabwe. The article is about President Robert Mugabe’s rigging styles. It gives a preview of seven stages that the despot president capitalized on to win the 2013 elections in spite of the fact that he was very unpopular with the electorate (Cox Web).
An Outline of the Article’s Main Points
The article asserts that President Robert Mugabe perfected seven ways in which he rigged the 2013 elections to maintain his three decades strong hold on power. These are: Beginning the election fraud early in advance, permitting shallow democratic reforms while keeping party bigwigs out of the negotiating table, Managing the state broadcasting stations, Heaping the courts with political appointees to uphold his constitutional decisions, Controlling the electoral commission to ensure that his win though rigged is believable, steering clear of violence means by all means, Proclaiming that the people have decided and forge ahead (Cox Web).
In an effort to keep away from violence on the day of the election it is believed Mugabe began election fraud even before the official date of the elections had been announced. Upon ensuring his party had registered its voters he unilaterally proclaimed the election date without consultation as required by law. Out of all the reforms that brought in the power sharing deal Mugabe fulfilled only the bill if rights and thus was still able to engage in election malpractice since the other reforms had not been enacted (Cox Web).
Prior to the elections 90% of news channels highlighted the MDC in the negative limelight giving the opposition party a big blow. Behind the scene was Mugabe. In May a Mugabe supporter went to court to compel it to interpret the constitution on when the elections should be held, the judge believed to be a Mugabe political appointee declared that the vote would be held on May 31st
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