Electoral Violence in Zimbabwe: Root Causes and Prospects for Sustainable Peace and Security



Nenge, Richard Tafara

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This study explores the causes of electoral violence in Zimbabwe between the years 2000 – 2013. It looked at factors that influenced the use of strive. The study employed the frustration-aggression theory together with other methods to understand the dynamics that suggest conditions for the use of violence. The study employed a questionnaire, interviews, and document analysis to assess the fundamental drive towards abuse. It establishes that electoral violence in Zimbabwe has roots in the country’s colonial heritage. The ruling party’s need for power and the party’s failure to acknowledge its opponent, the MDC as legitimate opposition forced ZANU-PF to become intolerant. They intimidate, threaten, assault and kill members of the opposition to coerce them to vote in favor of the ruling party. The party deployed security forces to manipulate the election and to pursue parochial interests by taking advantage of electoral competition. The in-group out-group mentality exhibited in strive begets frustration which lead to abuse. Through the exploration of the frustration-aggression theory, married with the cognitive dissonance and use of hate speech, the research finds that no single theory can adequately explain the existence of electoral strive in Zimbabwe. To achieve sustainable peace, the research suggests a continuous engagement of the international community as a means to uphold the rule of law for the conduct of undisputed elections.



Election, Zimbabwe, Causes of violence, Sustainable peace and security