On July 30, Zimbabweans will vote in their country’s first ever presidential election without former President Robert Mugabe on the ballot. A free, fair, and credible vote could be the first step in Zimbabwe’s recovery from 38 years of a repressive and rapacious dictatorship that brought the country to its knees. Over the past two decades, millions have fled. The vast majority of those who stayed have seen their standard of living decline dramatically, and over 70 percent now live in poverty. The country has become an international pariah. Emmerson Mnangagwa—Mugabe’s longtime enforcer who took over the presidency after a military coup last November—needs the election to go well in order to gain international legitimacy and a bailout for the bankrupt economy...
Co-authored by Michelle Gavin and Todd Moss
from Foreign Affairs
Michelle Gavin served as U.S. Ambassador to Botswana from 2011 to 2014. Ambassador Gavin is a senior fellow for Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. She has over twenty years of experience in international affairs in government and non-profit roles.