2018 Zimbabwean general election

General elections were held in Zimbabwe on 30 July 2018 to elect the President and members of both houses of Parliament.[1][2] Held eight months after the 2017 coup d'état, the election was the first since independence in which former President Robert Mugabe was not a candidate.

2018 Zimbabwean general election

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Presidential election
  Emmerson Mnangagwa (2019-01-15).jpg
Chiza (cropped).jpg
Candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa Nelson Chamisa
Party ZANU–PF MDC Alliance
Popular vote 2,456,010 2,151,927
Percentage 51.44% 45.07%

President before election

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Elected President

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Parliamentary election
Party Leader % Seats +/–
National Assembly
ZANU–PF Emmerson Mnangagwa 52.35 179 -17
MDC Alliance Nelson Chamisa 34.72 88 +16
MDC-T (Khupe) Thokozani Khuphe 3.03 1 New
NPF Eunice Sandi Moyo 1.04 1 New
Independent Temba Mliswa 5.05 1 -1
ZANU–PF Emmerson Mnangagwa 34 -3
MDC Alliance Nelson Chamisa 25 +2
MDC-T (Khupe) Thokozani Khuphe 1 New
2018 Zimbabwean presidential election by districts.svg
Zimbabwe election map 2018.svg

ZANU–PF, the country's ruling party, went into the election with majorities in both the National Assembly and the Senate. The main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai, contested the election as part of the MDC Alliance, a coalition that included the MDC–T and six smaller parties. The election gave ZANU–PF control of both houses in the 9th Parliament of Zimbabwe, though with reduced majorities in each. The MDC Alliance gained seats in both houses, closely corresponding to ZANU–PF's losses.

In the presidential election Emmerson Mnangagwa, who became president as a result of the 2017 coup ran for election as the ZANU–PF candidate. Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC–T leader who was expected to run against him, died in February 2018 and Nelson Chamisa, the new party leader, replaced him as the MDC Alliance candidate. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced Mnangagwa as the winner with 50.8% of the vote and gave Chamisa's 44.3%, giving Mnangagwa the majority needed to avoid a runoff. The announced results were disputed by MDC alliance and critiqued internationally.[3] Mnangagwa won six of the country's ten provinces, while Chamisa won four, including the two metropolitan provinces, Harare and Bulawayo. It was the closest since 2008 that an opposition party had come to breaking ZANU–PF's 38-year hold on power.


The likelihood of the elections taking place was called into doubt following the 2017 coup. On 22 November 2017, a ZANU–PF spokesman said that Emmerson Mnangagwa would serve out the remainder of Robert Mugabe's term before the elections due to be held; during or before September 2018.[4] On 20 March 2018, Mnangagwa said he was looking forward to holding elections in July 2018.[1] In May, 30 July was set as the date of the election.[2]

Electoral systemEdit

The President of Zimbabwe is elected using the two-round system.

The 270 members of the National Assembly consist of 210 members elected in single-member constituencies and 60 women elected by proportional representation in ten six-seat constituencies based on the country's provinces. Voters cast a single vote, which is counted for both forms of election.[5] The 80 members of the Senate include 60 members elected from ten six-member constituencies (also based on the provinces) by proportional representation using party lists; the lists must have a woman at the top and alternate between men and women.[6] The other 20 seats include two reserved for people with disabilities and 18 for traditional chiefs.

According to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the elections are required to be held before the official expiry date of the current parliamentary term, which was due to end on 21 August 2018.[7]

Presidential candidatesEdit

In 2015, long-term President Robert Mugabe announced that he would run for another term in 2018, and was adopted as the ZANU–PF candidate despite the fact that he would have been 94 at the time of the elections. Following the events of a military coup d'état in November 2017 and his deposition as leader of ZANU–PF, Mugabe resigned amidst parliamentary impeachment hearings on 21 November 2017.[8] His successor Mnangagwa was chosen as the ZANU–PF candidate shortly after taking office.[9] On 29 July 2018 Mugabe announced he would not support Emmerson Mnangagwa or the ZANU–PF party.[10]

It was unknown whether Morgan Tsvangirai, the long-time Zimbabwe opposition leader, would have run in the elections following an announcement on 6 February 2018 which stated that Tsvangirai was critically ill and an MDC party source said "we should brace for the worst".[11] Tsvangirai subsequently died on 14 February.[12] Nelson Chamisa replaced Tsvangirai as the MDC candidate.[13][14]

On 20 October 2017, the Coalition of Democrats or CODE, a group formed by nine political parties, nominated the leader of the Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe, Elton Mangoma, to be their presidential candidate in the election.[15]

Joice Mujuru, previously the Vice President of ZANU–PF before being ousted from the party in 2014, also registered her candidacy. Former Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khuphe, who leads a breakaway faction of the MDC after falling out with Nelson Chamisa, was also a candidate.[16]

In total 23 candidates stood for election.[17]


On 18 January 2018 Mnangagwa spoke to the Financial Times in an interview, in which he invited the EU, UN and the Commonwealth to send missions to Zimbabwe in order to monitor the elections.[18] On 29 July 2018, former President Mugabe gave a surprise press conference during which he stated he would not vote for Mnangagwa and ZANU–PF, the party he founded and led for decades.[19] Instead, he expressed the wish to vote for his long-time rival party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Nelson Chamisa.[20][21]

The credibility of the elections was questioned by both Zimbabwean citizens[22] and the international community.[23] The opposition party claimed that people aged 141 are registered to vote, and in one instance a single address had over 100 registered voters. Academic Tony Reeler argued people should boycott the poll, otherwise they would legitimise the 2017 coup.[24] Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa indicated that his party would participate in the election, but requested the intervention of the Southern African Development Community and African Union.[25] The Zimbabwe Republic Police were accused of requiring officers to cast postal ballots in front of their supervisors,[26] which is contrary to electoral law, which requires them to be a secret ballot.[27] The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) removed ghost voters and duplicate voters.[28] In 2015, the ZEC said that Diaspora voting would be allowed in the 2018 election,[29] but Mnangagwa ruled this out.[30] Elmar Brok claimed that ZANU–PF transported people to vote in an area in which they did not live.[31]

On 1 August, the opposition accused the government of rigging the vote. Just after the elections, supporters of ZANU–PF attacked houses of some MDC members.[32] In subsequent riots by MDC supporters, the army opened fire and killed three people, while three others died of their injuries the following day.[33]

Although the election process was peaceful, the main opposition party MDC Alliance claimed that Zanu PF and ZEC rigged the presidential election results to announce Emmerson Mnangagwa the winner. The party claimed that there was manipulation of figures which did not tally with what was recorded on V11 forms issued at each polling station.[34][35]

Opinion pollsEdit

Date(s) Polling organisation Sample
Turnout Mnangagwa Chamisa Undecided Lead
30 July 2018 2018 election Results N/A 70% 50.8% 44.3% N/A 6.5%
July 2018 Afrobarometer 2,400 N/A 40% 37% 20% 3%
June 2018 Afrobarometer N/A 85% 42% 31% 26% 11%


On 1 August, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission released preliminary results which show that the ruling party ZANU–PF had won the majority of seats in parliament.[36][37] On 3 August, the Commission declared incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa the winner with just over 50% of the vote.[38] This was the closest that an opposition party had come to ending ZANU–PF's hold on power since 2008, when Tsvangirai led the field in the first round and forced Mugabe into a runoff (from which he subsequently withdrew due to intimidation and violence by pro-Mugabe supporters), while the MDC-T won a plurality of seats in the House of Assembly.


Presidential election results map. Green denotes districts won by Mnangagwa, red denotes those won by Chamisa.
Emmerson MnangagwaZANU–PF2,456,01051.44
Nelson ChamisaMovement for Democratic Change Alliance2,151,92745.07
Thokozani KhupeMDC–Tsvangirai (Khupe)45,6260.96
Joseph Makamba BushaFreeZim Congress17,5400.37
Nkosana MoyoAlliance for People's Agenda15,1720.32
Evaristo ChikangaRebuilding Zimbabwe Party13,1320.28
Joice MujuruPeople's Rainbow Coalition12,8230.27
Hlabangana KwaneleRepublican Party9,4600.20
Blessing KasiyamhuruZimbabwe Partnership for Prosperity7,0160.15
William MugadzaBethel Christian Party5,8980.12
Peter WilsonDemocratic Opposition Party4,8950.10
Peter MunyanduriNew Patriotic Front4,4980.09
Divine MhambiNational Alliance of Patriotic and Democratic Republicans4,4050.09
Ambrose MutinhiriNational Patriotic Front4,1070.09
Daniel ShumbaUnited Democratic Alliance3,9050.08
Peter GavaUnited Democratic Front2,8580.06
Brian MtekiIndependent2,7320.06
Lovemore MadhukuNational Constitutional Assembly2,6920.06
Noah Ngoni ManyikaBuild Zimbabwe Alliance2,6810.06
Elton MangomaCoalition of Democrats2,4310.05
Melbah Dzapasi1980 Freedom Movement Zimbabwe1,8900.04
Violet MariyachaUnited Democracy Movement1,6730.04
Timothy ChiguvarePeople's Progressive Party1,5460.03
Valid votes4,774,91798.51
Invalid/blank votes72,3161.49
Total votes4,847,233100.00
Registered voters/turnout5,695,70685.10
Source: The Commonwealth

Results by provinceEdit

  • Only candidates with more than 10,000 votes are listed.[39]
Province Mnangagwa Chamisa Khupe Busha Moyo Chikanga Mujuru Valid votes
Manicaland 292,938 296,429 4,793 2,759 2,508 1,834 1,281 611,414
Mashonaland Central 359,576 96,063 1,541 1,452 879 858 2,547 467,740
Mashonaland West 314,541 220,111 3,060 2,248 1,506 1,456 1,158 551,453
Mashonaland East 334,617 189,021 2,298 1,681 1,166 950 972 535,458
Masvingo 318,964 171,438 3,012 2,510 1,707 2,367 979 509,523
Matabeleland South 107,008 90,292 4,700 1,216 1,060 1,335 808 212,517
Matabeleland North 111,452 137,611 12,776 1,401 1,419 1,342 1,170 274,163
Midlands 352,027 257,960 4,672 2,768 2,000 1,795 1,169 631,261
Bulawayo 60,168 144,107 5,753 497 1,350 364 1,050 215,405
Harare 204,719 548,895 3,021 1,008 1,577 831 1,689 765,983
Total 2,456,010 2,151,927 45,626 17,540 15,172 13,132 12,823 4,774,917

National AssemblyEdit

House of Assembly election results map.
  National Patriotic Front
Movement for Democratic Change Alliance1,643,36634.72642488+16
MDC–Tsvangirai (Khupe)143,3963.03011New
People's Rainbow Coalition61,6441.30000New
National Patriotic Front49,1031.04101New
Zimbabwe Partnership for Prosperity26,5150.56000New
Zimbabwe African People's Union16,0880.340000
Zimbabwe Democratic Union11,1990.24000New
National Constitutional Assembly9,7360.21000New
Mthwakazi Republic Party9,5540.20000New
Build Zim Alliance8,4860.18000New
Coalition of Democrats6,5220.14000New
FreeZim Congress4,2400.090000
United Democratic Alliance3,5990.08000New
Republican Party of Zimbabwe3,2640.07000New
Freedom Movement #19802,1460.05000New
Alliance for the Peoples Agenda2,1110.04000New
United African National Council1,8890.04000New
The African Democrats1,3870.03000New
United Movement for Democracy1,3570.030000
Alliance for National Salvation1,2040.03000New
Zimbabwe Rainbow Democratic Party1,1720.02000New
People's Progressive Party Zimbabwe1,0640.02000New
Freedom Justice Coalition Zimbabwe7730.02000New
United Democratic Front6110.01000New
Zimbabwe Labour Party4640.01000New
Zimbabwe Patriotic Movement4020.01000New
Zim First3730.01000New
National Action Party3620.01000New
Rebuilding Zimbabwe Party3460.01000New
Maat – Zimbabwe3420.01000New
Zimbabwe People's Party: Good People's Movement3280.01000New
Democratic Official Party3230.01000New
United Democracy Movement3180.01000New
Forces of Liberation Organization of African National Party3030.01000New
Chief's Party2820.01000New
United Crusade for Achieving Democracy Green Party of Zimbabwe2240.00000New
Unity Party Zimbabwe2140.00000New
New Zimbabwe Republican Party1980.00000New
Federal Democrats of Zimbabwe1940.00000New
Democratic Alliance–United People's Party1470.00000New
Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe1440.00000New
United Christian Alliance1230.00000New
African People's Congress700.00000New
Suffering Voices of Zimbabwe660.00000New
Freedom Front440.000000
Source: ZEC


Movement for Democratic Change Alliance25+2
MDC–Tsvangirai (Khupe)1New
Disabled representatives2
Source: ZBC


Within days after the election, there were protests by the Movement for Democratic Change opposition. The army opened fire on demonstrators and bystanders killing six people. In the following days, many opposition supporters were arrested, according to opposition leaders and human rights groups.[40]

On 10 August, it was announced that Mnangagwa's inauguration, which had been scheduled for 12 August, would be delayed after Chamisa petitioned to challenge the election results in court, with a ruling due by the end of the month.[41] On 24 August 2018, the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe dismissed Chamisa's challenge and officially declared Mnangagwa the winner in a unanimous ruling.[42][43][44] The Chief Justice Luke Malaba noted that Chamisa refused both a recount and access to the ballot boxes.[45] Mnangagwa's inauguration and official swearing-in was then held on 26 August.[46][47]

Two Washington-based entities, American International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI), which were involved in the Zimbabwe International Election Observation Mission (ZIEOM) expressed doubts that the poll had a standard accepting value.[48] Manisha Singh, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, told a congressional hearing that until the new government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa shows signs of "changing its ways," the U.S. government will not lift sanctions against Zimbabwe.[49]

See alsoEdit


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