Zimbabwean government officials have denied claims that President Emmerson Mnangagwa sought to postpone the country’s 2018 elections.
According to George Charamba, Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President, allegations by academic Dr. Ibbo Mandaza are untrue. Dr. Mandaza had stated that in March, President Mnangagwa sent emissaries to opposition leader Nelson Chamisa proposing to delay the polls by two years.
However, Mr. Charamba rejected this account. As spokesperson for the President, he affirmed that Mnangagwa has always upheld constitutionalism. Zimbabwe’s constitution mandates regular elections, so postponing the vote was not a viable option.
Contrary to Dr. Mandaza’s suggestion, Zimbabwe did hold national elections as scheduled on August 23rd. President Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF party emerged victorious, defeating Mr. Chamisa’s opposition coalition. This outcome seems to belie claims that delaying elections was ever truly under consideration.
While Dr. Mandaza cited an unnamed “reliable” source in making his statement, he provided no evidence backing his version of events. Government officials maintain the President prepared for democratic elections according to the constitution.
This conflicting reporting highlights partisan interpretations of Zimbabwe’s political situation leading up to pivotal 2023 elections. However, the vote proceeded as planned, suggesting claims of an attempted postponement may have been overstated or inaccurate. Both sides present plausible narratives, though facts on the ground supported the government’s account.