As the afternoon yesterday wore on, the crackle of automatic fire could be heard sporadically across the city. Riot police fired tear gas and soldiers were deployed as armored personnel carriers and water cannon cruised the streets, and an army helicopter kept watch from above.
Last night, streets of this capital had been emptied. It’s spookily quiet, and it’s tense. No word from either presidential contender, other than on Twitter. Nelson Chamisa, the challenger, still claiming victory. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the incumbent, calling, ironically, for everyone to act peacefully.
The results will be announced today. Protests will eventually continue today. This is the overall opinion of insiders.
Risk of military intervention:
“The response from the military in opening fire on MDC Alliance protesters in the streets is fast undermining the goodwill that Mnangagwa has built in recent months from the international community. While the protests were triggered by MDC politicians led by Nelson Chamisa repeatedly – and illegally – declaring victory before the official results, the unmeasured military response bears witness to a security apparatus little reformed since the Mugabe era. It matters little whether this heavy-handed response came on Mnangagwa’s orders: evidence that the president lacks the authority to control the security forces will be just as damning in terms of the impact on Zimbabwe’s international rehabilitation. Risks related to military involvement in politics and the quality and responsiveness of political institutions will remain a concern in Zimbabwe.”
Christopher McKee, CEO of PRS Group issued a risk report on Zimbabwe . It says.
Risk of the election impacting international financial assistance:
“A constructive international response to this election is desperately important for Zimbabwe’s new government because, without substantial external financial assistance, there will be little basis for undertaking a serious program of currency reform and as long as the country is hobbled by continued sanctions, it will remain isolated and strapped for cash – conditions that are hardly conducive to creating a more hospitable climate for investment.
“Zimbabwe’s political risk score had improved from ‘very high risk’ at 48 last August to ‘high risk’ at 54 before the elections, within a range that ranks Sudan at 37.5 and Norway at 89.5. Political risk had been easing as parts of the international community prepared for a new Zimbabwe in the post-Mugabe era, improving the outlook for government stability and foreign relations. The pace of this support – given what we’ve seen following the vote in terms of the violence – is likely to be slower as the international community reassesses. Crucially, the EU has given a mixed assessment, noting examples of soft coercion and bias from state institutions in ZANU-PF’s favour. Such concerns will only deepen the more that the presidential election results are delayed and should the violence escalate further. It is incumbent on the current government to act judiciously in handling the MDC Alliance’s protests against what the opposition claims is widespread fraud, as the response will undoubtedly influence international opinion as to whether Mnangagwa’s commitment to democratic reform is genuine.”
Risks after the election announcement:
“Zimbabwe’s financial risk profile is among the worst in Africa at 35, only slightly above the regional low of 30 for Ethiopia and compared with 47 for Botswana. Even if the immediate post-election unrest quickly dies down and Mnangagwa is sworn into office, the risks for investors will remain high. For all his talk of reform, Mnangagwa stuck pretty closely to the Mugabe playbook throughout his campaign. He raised the salaries of 350,000 state workers by an unaffordable 15%, and increased benefits for war veterans – two constituencies that historically were the bedrock of Mugabe’s autocratic rule, and can be expected to use their leverage to influence the government’s policy agenda. Tellingly, while Mnangagwa has spoken of compensating white farmers whose land was seized under Mugabe, he has unequivocally ruled out white ownership of farmland, a stance that likely has unfavourable implications for mine owners hoping for abandonment of the so-called ‘indigenization’ law.
“In terms of overall policy and effective governance, the prospect of a victory for Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF had been viewed through our data and by the financial markets somewhat more favourably than a win for the opposition. Investors seemed prepared to give Mnangagwa the benefit of the doubt in view of his expressed willingness to implement liberal reforms. Yet confidence on that score assumes that a ZANU-PF government formed after the elections will be able to count on support from multilateral lenders and the international donor community.”