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Result determined before a single ballot is cast

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Political parties in Zimbabwe win elections in two ways: by mobilizing their own supporters and suppressing the opposition vote. With its origins as an armed guerrilla insurgency, Zanu-PF has always used both approaches, combining force and patronage to build a political base of “no-go” zones in the country’s rural northeast where the MDC cannot campaign. Absent deep roots in either the labour movement or business community, Zanu-PF long ago lost the allegiance of most urban voters. For its part, however, the MDC, with its undisciplined performance in the coalition government, failed to consolidate its early support among these same groups. It also neglected the need to rebuild its own organization and consummate a grand coalition with minor opposition parties.

More from Michael Bratton writing for Foreign Affairs here

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