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Zimbabwean Elections to be Held In 5 Months

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced that the country will hold free and fair elections in 5 months – the first to take place after the reign of Robert Mugabe. The President stated that he has no doubt the vote will go ahead peacefully, and that he wants Zimbabwe to engage the world as a qualified democratic state.

Opposition party, the MDC, has called for reforms before a vote takes place. The party has requested that the Electoral Act be aligned with the constitution, which would allow for postal voting and the appointment of an independent electoral commission. The MDC has also requested equal access to a register of voters, which the party was denied access to during the 2013 elections, leading it to boycott subsequent by-elections.

Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has fired 11 allies of former leader Robert Mugabe from parliament, stating that the former members no longer represented their interests. During the de facto military coup that brought an end to Mugabe’s leadership, many of the former President’s political allies were either arrested during a series of raids, or fled to neighboring countries.

The Zimbabwe government is also due to set up 10 specialized courts to try cases of corruption. Chief Justice Luke Malaba said a court with specially-trained staff would be set up in each of the 10 provinces, starting with Harare and Bulawayo. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has given corrupt officials until the end of next month to return money illegally stashed abroad. The new President has promised to clamp down on the corruption that flourished under his predecessor.

 

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Sources: [1], [2], [3]. Image source: [1].

Zimbabwe: Where To From Here?

After a tense few days, Robert Mugabe has resigned from his role as Zimbabwe’s President.

Earlier this month, after the dismissal of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Zimbabwean army stationed vehicles around Harare, the country’s capital, placing Mugabe under house arrest. It is thought that the dismissal was the result of Mugabe’s wife, Grace, lobbying her husband, in order to take over the country and fuel her own political ambitions.

Zimbabweans wondering how the political crisis, brought to a head by decades of economic decline, would end, had their questions answered on Tuesday, 21 November, with the formal resignation of Mugabe, who, along with his ZANU-PF party, has been in power for the past 29 years.

Now that the army has intervened in the power struggle, and chosen the political path going forward, Emmerson Mnangagwa will take over as the country’s President.

In 1980, Mnangagwa was appointed by Canaan Banana, Zimbabwe’s first President, as the country’s first Minister of State Security. Since then, he has held the positions of Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Minister of Finance, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Minister of Rural Housing and Social Amenities, Minister of Defence, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Vice President, and Leader of the ZANU–PF party.

He is to be sworn in as Zimbabwe’s new president on Friday, 24 November, according to the country’s Speaker of Parliament. This comes after the ruling party notified him of its nomination of Mnangagwa to replace Mugabe until the end of the term of office next year. General elections are scheduled to be held in Zimbabwe in 2018, and are likely to take place sometime between 23 July and 21 August.

Zimbabwe currently has an unemployment rate of 95%, the highest in the world. With many believing that Mnangagwa and Mugabe are cut from the same cloth, whether the economic situation in Zimbabwe is set to improve remains uncertain.

Mugabe’s letter of resignation can be read here.

For information about how Relocation Africa can assist you with moving into or out of Zimbabwe, or between other African countries, email marketing@relocationafrica.com.

 

Image source: Zimbabwe HOPE TV [1]. Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5].

What Might The Outcome Of The Zimbabwean Political Crisis Be?

On 14 and 15 November, members of the Zimbabwean military began stationing vehicles across the country’s capital, Harare, sending a strong message to the ruling government that it had reached the end of its patience with the status quo.

With current president, Robert Mugabe, effectively under house arrest, and the ruling party-aligned national broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) seized, Zimbabweans, and the rest of the world, watch on in anticipation of the outcome.

Mugabe and his party (ZANU-PF) have been in power, autocratically, for the past 37 years, since taking over from the country’s first president, Canaan Banana, in 1987. Throughout his years of rule, Mugabe has faced much opposition, from opposition parties and Zimbabwean citizens, against abuses of power in numerous forms.

The current situation was supposedly brought about by the recent ousting of former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was dismissed on 6 November 2017. This was allegedly done in order to make way for Mugabe’s wife, Grace, to take the helm after the president steps down.

On 13 November, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Constantino Chiwenga released a statement criticizing those who were responsible for the dismissals of government officials in the ruling party. Chiwenga warned that the armed forces would be forced to intervene should the “purging” not stop.

On 14 November it was reported that soldiers and armoured military vehicles were seen headed towards the capital, Harare, after which several roads were blocked off, including the one leading to the president’s residence.

In the early hours of the following day, the military spokesperson, Major General SD Moyo, appeared on ZBC television to announce that the military had taken over the country, and that the president and his family were safe. He also stated that the armed forces would be “targeting criminals around him [Mugabe] who are committing crimes… that are causing social and economic suffering in the country”. It was later reported that several ZANU-PF politicians and government ministers were detained or arrested, including the country’s finance minister, Ignatious Chombo.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been in poor shape for many years, and military members have had to sometimes go for months on end without having their salaries paid by the current leadership.

One potential scenario is the leading of a transitional government by Mnangagwa. Another is the handing over of power to Mugabe, provided the military is satisfied that said power won’t be passed on to his spouse. A third option involves Constantino Chiwenga taking power. Finally, a snap election could be called, giving Zimbabweans an opportunity to head to the polls in order to decide the future of the country themselves.

Whatever the outcome, Zimbabweans are likely hoping to face a very different political environment going forward – one which brings about the much-needed prosperity that citizens deserve to see after decades of economic decline. Whether or not these changes come about peacefully remains to be seen.

For information about how Relocation Africa can assist you with moving into or out of Zimbabwe, or between other African countries, email marketing@relocationafrica.com.

 

Sources: [1]; [2]. Image source: [1].

Zimbabweans get four-year grace

Zimbabweans have become part of South Africa’s fabric. There are anywhere between one and three million Zimbabweans living and working in the country.

More than 200 000 Zimbabweans are here on a special visa that will expire at the end of the year. Although government has outlined paths for them to remain in the country legally, the process is clouded by confusion and bureaucratic hurdles.

It should come as little surprise that, seven years after South Africa introduced the Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project (ZDP), which offered amnesty to Zimbabweans who had been living in the country with fraudulent documents, those who hold these permits have become part of South Africa’s economic and social makeup.

A total of 242 731 Zimbabweans were granted a permit under the banner of the ZDP in 2010. The department of home affairs waived fees and the need for certain supporting documents, including passports.

Shortly before the ZDP was due to expire in December 2014, the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permit (ZSP) replaced it, under the same condition that it would not be renewable.

Instead, ZSP holders were advised that, following the permit’s expiration on December 31 2017, those who qualified for a standard visa in South Africa would have to apply in Zimbabwe, where the processing time is about two months, without accounting for delays. Those who did not qualify for a standard visa would have to return to Zimbabwe.

But, as the December 31 deadline approached, there was little clarity from home affairs about how it would be implemented, causing uncertainty among Zimbabwean permit holders, their families and their employers.

Zimbabwean Special Permit Holders (ZSP)

Are you a Zimbabwean living in South Africa on a ZSP ?

If you are a Zimbabwean National currently in South Africa on a valid Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP) and you qualify for one of the mainstream Temporary Residence Visas (Study, Work Relative, Etc.), you may apply for a change of status from within South Africa between 2 October 2017 and 30 November 2017.

For a quotation to assist, please contact Tracy on 083 650 5269 or via Tracy@relocationafrica.com.