Zimbabwe was declared an independent country in April 1980 after previously being a part of British colony. This milestone was also marked by the change of country’s name, from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. The acknowledgement of independence was a continuation to general elections held earlier in February 1980. During the elections, Robert Mugabe was appointed as the country’s first prime minister. Mugabe’s party, Zimbabwe African Nation Union (ZANU) also won 57 out of 100 seats in the parliament. The power held by this party remained strong for years to come.
First General Election
Little do people know, the first general election in Zimbabwe was not the one held in 1980. Back in April 1979, an election was conducted according to an agreement made in 1978 named Internal Settlement. Although this election aimed to transfer more power toward the majority group (native Zimbabweans), many have said that the terms were beneficial towards European minority group. Because of that, international community did not recognize the results of 1979 election. It is argued that the election did not really represent majority’s voice with the way it was designed.
Nonetheless, the first election remains to be one of the most successful elections in terms of the turnout. It is estimated that turnout for that election was around 71%. The 1979 election, which elected Bishop Muzorewa as the country’s leader, also kick started the road to independence as the country’s future direction was later disputed. At the end, a new agreement known as Lancaster House Agreement was born near the end of 1979. According to that agreement, it was decided that the country would later be granted independence.
Ever since the first election, the country had held several successive elections. Without doubt, as the country develops there are some changes made with the aim to further support democracy within the country. One major development happened in 1990. For the first time, it was decided that a president would be directly elected by Zimbabwean people instead of by electoral college system http://188.8.131.52. According to the 1990 amendment, a presidency term lasted for 6 years. This rule was later amended to 5 years a term.
In order to ensure that election in Zimbabwe runs smoothly, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was formed in 2004. This commission is a successor to Electoral Supervisory Commission. The establishment was conducted according to primary legislation. Its main objective is to manage the country’s elections and referendums so that the voice of Zimbabwean people is well represented. This organization is considered to be nominally independent. It is led by a team of commissioners who have expertise in politics and judicial laws.