It stated the definitions that have been provided on

It
is believed that a country that refers to itself as a democracy must be engaged in pure or direct democracy. This means
that the people in this country vote directly for the implementation of
proposed policies instead of electing representatives who make decisions on
which policies to be implemented on their behalf. However, there is the
ideology that a democracy is country that has a form of government which has
its supreme power vested in the citizens and this power is still exercised by
the citizens through a system of representation which involves free elections that
are held periodically. Although this ideology hold some grounds of democracy,
it can be argued that its description is more of a republic than that
describing a democracy since it contains the notion of citizens electing
representatives who are responsible to them and also to govern the state
according to the law. Thus it can be stated the definitions that have been
provided on democracy are quite similar to those given on republic.

Thus, when compared
to monarchies, dictatorships, aristocracies and oligarchies, in which the citizens
of a given nation have little or no say in who is elected to represent them and
how the government is run, a democracy is often said to be the most challenging
form of government, as input from those representing citizens determines the
direction of the country. This fact brings us to the basic definition of
democracy in its purest form comes from the Greek language: The term means
“rule by the people.” However, democracy is defined in many ways — a fact that
has caused much disagreement among those leading various democracies as to how
best to run one.

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Although there exists varying
definitions of democracy, these definitions have constant and similar elements
within them. These include that; democracy is a form of government in which people’s participation
is of primary importance, the citizens may participate either directly or
indirectly, the people have equal opportunity in this form of government and that
this type of government is based on individual merit and there is no place of
hereditary privilege found in democracy, the distribution of opportunities is
adopted for reduction and even the removal of inequalities (Besson, 2011). Also
democracy recognizes that all the sections of the community will receive their
due shares, it aims at protecting the interests of the minorities and the state
makes arrangements to ensure that is upheld. Also it is a system of government
which does not make any discrimination on the basis of caste, religion, sex,
birth etc.

There
are several approaches to democracy and they include; parliamentary democracy, which originated from Britain, is one where the government is made
up of a party or coalition of parties that garners the largest representation
in parliament. The parliamentary democracy comprises of two styles i.e. ‘lower
house’ whose members are elected and an ‘upper’ house whose members are
appointed. On the other hand, sovereign democracy, which is associated with
Russia, describes a society’s political life where the political powers, their
authorities and decisions are decided and controlled by a diverse nation for
the purpose of reaching material welfare, freedom and fairness by all citizens,
social groups and nationalities, by the people that formed it. The concept of
sovereignty relates to government as a whole, and not to a certain form of rule
or to a political regime. Limited democracy, which has its origins in Athens,
is a form of government in which the power of the people is limited to the
parameters of a constitution (Besson, 2011). As
the name suggests, limited democracies do not include all citizens in the
process of government thus there are populations who are not permitted to vote
under the tenets of limited constitutions and these populations often
discriminate based on gender, economic status, race or ethnicity, inherited
social status or education.

Types of Democratic Regimes

The ‘third
wave’ of democratization has resulted in the proliferation of regimes that are
neither fully democratic nor classic authoritarian. To capture the nature of
these hybrid regimes, the democratization literature has come up with a wide
variety of adjectives as descriptors of different forms of democracy and
authoritarianism.

A
regime is a set of rules and institutions that define a political system of a
particular country. Electoral regimes are described as regimes that have
minimal competitive elections but no other democratic institutions. However,
institutions or guarantees of freedoms, as well as elections, must exist in
order for a regime to be considered democratic. It is important to note that
more regimes than ever before are adopting the form of electoral democracy,
with regular, competitive, multiparty elections. Second, many of these regimes indeed,
an unprecedented proportion of the world’s countries have the form of electoral
democracy but fail to meet the substantive test, or do so only ambiguously
(Besson, 2011). And third, with heightened international expectations and
standards for electoral democracy, including the rise of international election
observing, there is closer international scrutiny of individual countries’
democratic practices than ever before.

Minimalist
electoral regime defines a democratic process that is used to make up governing
institutions which require only multi-candidate, competitive elections. This
means that individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive
struggle for the people’s vote. On the other hand, the illiberal democracies
are those regimes where each and every citizen has the right to vote among
multiple candidates but the human rights and individual liberties are not well
observed like in Russia and Nigeria. In simpler words, a minimalist democracy
is a government for the people that is supposed to promote just and effective
governance.

In
addition to the above types of regimes, when democracy is ranked according to
qualitative concepts, there are three types and in this ranking, we come across
the social maximalist democracy. This maximalist democratic regime is described
as a government by the people and of the people. This regime is based on the
maximalist understanding of democracy and it entails characteristics of the
participatory and representative types of democracy but also factors in the social
prerequisites of the citizens of the country in question, an aspect that is
very essential for the fair and meaningful democratic participation.  When analyzing or
measuring maximalist democracy, it is important to factor in the previous
indicators of democracy such as elections, political freedoms and civil
liberties. All these are necessary but not sufficient to fulfil the
democratic definition. There are various democratic “properties” that
should be met on top of those in order for maximalist democracy to be
effectively measured. Two of these democratic properties receive the most
attention and they are: civic participation and political deliberation. On
top of that, it is argued that additional variables should be taken into
account when analyzing maximalist democracy, these variable comprise of governance
indicators (including data about Transparency and Bureaucratic capacity,
for example) and the society’s democratic values.

Procedural
democracy is a democracy in which the people or
citizens of the state have less influence than in traditional liberal democracies.
This type of democracy is characterized by voters choosing to elect representatives
in free elections. Procedural democracy assumes that the electoral process is
at the core of the authority placed in elected officials and ensures that all
procedures of elections are duly complied with or at least appear to be
complied with. It could be described as a republic that simply people voting
for representatives wherein only the basic structures and institutions are in
place. Commonly, the previously elected representatives use electoral
procedures to maintain themselves in power against the common wish of the
people, to some varying extent, thus thwarting the establishment of a
full-fledged democracy. Procedural democracy is quite different from substantive democracy,
which is manifested by equal participation of all groups in society in the
political process. This is evident in particular southern African countries
such as Namibia,
Angola,
and Mozambique, where procedural
elections are conducted through international assistance, and these countries are
possible examples of procedural democracies. For procedural democrats, the aim
of democracy is to embody certain procedural virtue. Procedural democrats are
divided among themselves over what those virtues might be, as well as over which
procedures best embody them. But all procedural democrats agree on the one
central point: for procedural democrats, there is no “independent truth of
the matter” which outcomes ought to track; instead, the goodness or
rightness of an outcome is wholly constituted by the fact of its having emerged
in some procedurally correct manner.

 

Democracy
in Zimbabwe.

The Governing Structure in Zimbabwe

Since
its independence in April 1980, Robert Mugabe has lead Zimbabwe as its head of
state for thirty seven years before the coup first as the Prime Minister for
seven years and then as President. Mugabe rose to power in his fight for black,
majority rule in Rhodesia which is now Zimbabwe in the Rhodesian Bush War. In
late 1965, white-led Rhodesia declared independence from the crown. Following
the unilateral declaration of independence (UDI), Black Nationalist movements
began fighting the government for majority black rule. Two primary groups arose
– the Zimbabwe African Nationalist Union (ZANU) and the Zimbabwe African
People’s Union (ZAPU). Led by Robert Mugabe, ZANU, with support from
neighboring Mozambique, was able to swamp the government fighters, and in 1979,
after over fourteen years of war, the Lancaster House Conference led to the
resignation of the then Prime Minister, Ian Smith. The Lancaster House
Agreement led to popular elections and an overwhelming victory for Mugabe and
his ZANU party. Over three decades later and Mugabe and his party, now Zimbabwe
African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), are still in power. After
initially taking office, Mugabe was hailed for reaching out towards both the
white minority and political rivals in ZAPU; his economic approach was also
praised. Thirty-six years later and the country is on the verge of a second
economic collapse, has controversially altered the farming sector, ostracized
the white minority, and committed massacres against the supporters of his
political rivals.

Initially,
the role of President was ceremonial, acting as head of state, with all real
power lying in the position of Prime Minister, held by Mugabe. The role of
president was held by Canaan Banana, a member of ZANU and a member of the
Ndebele ethnicity; Banana was chosen for the role in part due to his ethnicity,
who primarily supported rival political party ZAPU. Following violence against
Ndebele accused of supporting Joshua Nkomo and his ZAPU party, ZANU and ZAPU
agreed on the Unity Accord (UA), which merged the two parties into ZANU-PF. In
addition, the role of Prime Minister (previously held by Mugabe) was
eliminated. Correspondingly, the role of President – then held by Mugabe – was
strengthened to control executive functions of government as well as act as
both head of state and head of government. Presidential candidates are directly
voted on, with over fifty percent needed to claim victory in the first round.
If no candidate receives the majority of votes, a run-off takes place two
months later. Until the 2013 Constitution was ratified, the post of President
had no term limits; now the president is limited to two five-year terms, not
applied retroactively. Mugabe then announced his intentions to run as the
ZANU-PF candidate in the 2018 Presidential elections; if he would have not been
overthrown, Mugabe would be in power until he got to ninety-nine years old.

The Zimbabwean Parliament is divided
into the House of Assembly and the Senate, with eighty and two hundred and ten
seats, respectively. The mandate of Parliament is, similar to parliaments
around the world, to control the legislative branch of government. In the
Senate, each of the ten provinces elect six representatives. Out of the
remaining twenty seats, two are representatives for people with disabilities
and eighteen chiefs; two chiefs are elected from each region, save Bulawayo and
Harare. The House of Assembly representatives are elected from the two hundred
and ten constituencies; the remaining seats are reserved for women and six are
elected from each of the ten provinces. Currently, ZANU-PF controls more than
half of the seats in the Senate, followed by MDC-T controlling which controls
about twenty-five percent of the seats and MDC-N controlling one percent of the
seats. ZANU-PF also controls about eighty percent of the seats in the House of
Assembly, with MDCT controlling about twenty six percent of the seats, and
MDC-N controlling less than one percent of the seats, and independents
controlling the remaining less than one percent of the seats.

The Zimbabwean judiciary system
features seven levels of courts: the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court,
the High Court, the Administrative Court, the Labor Court, Magistrates’ Courts,
and Customary law Courts, the above have been listed from highest to lowest
authority. While legally there is independence of the judiciary branch from
both the executive and legislative branches, this has not been the case in
Zimbabwe. Often, the president places pressure on court decisions. The
interference with the courts has lessened in recent years, with several
prominent cases being ruled against ZANU-PF.

The
original constitution of Zimbabwe was the 1979 Lancaster House agreement, which
was negotiated between Mugabe (representing ZANU), Nkomo (representing ZAPU),
and British foreign secretary Lord Carrington. Ending the lengthy Rhodesian
Bush War and leading the path to an independent Zimbabwe, the main controversy
surrounding the document was land reform. Guarantees were placed in the
agreement such that no forcible seizure of land from white citizens could take
place for a decade, with the incentive that the United Kingdom would fund
Zimbabwe’s long-term land reform. The agreement was eventually signed and its
land reform clauses were followed through until they expired ten years later.
In 2000, a new constitution was proposed and voted on via referendum. While
this constitution was claimed to devolve power from the president, critics said
not enough power was removed; no major changes from the current system were in
the constitution. The proposed constitution also had a clause removing
compensation requirements for land reform. The referendum failed to pass, with
fifty five percent voting against the new constitution, while forty five
percent voted for. This marked the first time Mugabe had lost a vote since his
initial inauguration years prior.

With
the failure of a new constitution, the Lancaster Agreement continued as the
country’s core document. The Unity Accords that formed the Government of
National Unity also called for the formation of a new constitution, to be voted
on prior to the next elections. Agreed upon by all major parties, the new
proposed constitution would place several checks of power on the president,
such as a declaration of a state of emergency must be approved by parliament
after two weeks. Zimbabweans were also guaranteed freedom from torture and
detention without a trial. Laws promoting other individual freedoms were also
included. The referendum saw overwhelming support for the new constitution,
with 94.5% of voters in favor of the document. The constitution calls for much
more freedom than the previous constitution, though enacting and following
through on the laws is a different dilemma.

 

Ruling
Political Party, the Opposition and NGO’s

            Ruling
Zimbabwe since its independence, ZANU-PF has shown its ability to adapt to new
challenges as to remain in power. While opposition parties remain a fractured
mess, ZANU-PF’s rising tensions are boiling underneath; the succession to the
92-year-old leader was causing strife from within the party. Mugabe had stated
his intentions to run for president in the upcoming 2018 elections. If Mugabe
died while in office, it is ZANU-PF, though, that would have chosen the next
president, not parliament. After removing former vice president Joice Mujuru in
December 2014 and appointing former Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, there
was no clear successor to the presidency. This was further complicated by
Mugabe’s younger wife Grace Mugabe stepping up, leading to rumors she is being
groomed to take over after her husband’s passing. While Mujuru is technically
out of ZANU-PF, she still has retained strong support at the local and regional
levels. The main factions, though, are between Vice President Mnangagwa and
First Lady Grace Mugabe. In the recent months before the coup, the factionalism
has increased as Mugabe’s health generally decreased. ZANU-PF has ruled through
demands of loyalty, from citizens to vice presidents and every position in
between. During the purge of Mujuru, several cabinet members and many local and
regional officials.

Zimbabwean political opposition is filled with over a dozen
political parties, plagued with factions consistently splitting and forming
their own opposition parties. Many of the political parties are relatively new,
with a fair amount created in some form of split with another party. This
factionalism is the main downfall of the opposition. Without the myriad
opposition parties splitting votes, Tsvangirai would have most likely won the
2008 elections; instead Tsvangirai fell short of the required 50% and forced a
run-off election which he later dropped out of due to violence against his
supporters. The modern opposition to the government began with the formation of
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Prior to this, there were several
periods with other opposition parties, but success was limited and the
movements soon died out. Towards the end of the century, a new generation of
Zimbabweans had emerged; shaped rather by the independent Zimbabwe under
ZANU-PF than by the Rhodesian Bush War, these individuals began expressing
dissatisfaction with the ruling party. Several civic groups and NGOs came
together and, following their discussion of myriad issues facing the nation,
decided the only way to solve the challenges was through the formation of an
opposition party. Thus, MDC was formed in September 1999. MDC was quickly put
to the test with a constitutional referendum in February the following year;
MDC believed that the proposed constitution did not have enough checks of power
on the president. This referendum became the first time that ZANU-PF lost at
the polls, with only 44% of the population approving the constitution.
Following the rejection of the constitution, Mugabe’s government sped up his
land reform program – something the rejected constitution would have allowed
him to do with greater ease and began violently seizing farmland from white
Zimbabweans. Following the success of the constitutional referendum, MDC
preformed exceedingly well in the parliamentary elections in June 2000. Even
with voter intimidation, MDC won 57 seats, opposed to ZANU-PF’s 62 seats; the
last seat went to ZANU-Ndonga. Perhaps more noteworthy than their success in
the polls was the locations they won seats in. While previous opposition
parties were only able to gain support from one region, MDC was able to gain
seats in both Matabeleland and Manicaland. Despite the early successes, MDC was
unable to win in the March 2002 presidential elections, gaining only 42% of the
votes compared to ZANU-PF’s 56%. During 2005 and the parliamentary elections,
the weight of conflicting interests within MDC were finally exposed. Composed
of a wide spectrum of Zimbabweans, individuals supported the party for its
rally against Mugabe rather than for its own ideology. After failing to win the
Presidential election in 2002 and losing seats in that year’s parliamentary
election, the different strategies for regime change from the MDC leaders
proved too different.

The infighting between the two
factions caused a split, forming what is now known as Movement for Democratic
Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and Movement for Democratic Change – Ncube (MDC-N),
led by secretary-general Welshman Ncube. While MDC-T had a larger support base,
as well as the backing of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the
fracture caused enough diffusion of support such that neither party would be
effective. Other parties that have formed via splits from MDC or related
parties include MDC Renewal Team, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Renewal
Democrats in Zimbabwe (RDZ). Another popular figure, former VP Joice Mujuru,
created her own political party following her dismissal from ZANU-PF and
position as vice president. Seen as the likely successor to Mugabe for many
years, Mujuru created the opposition Zimbabwe People First party in early 2016.
As the party is still new and untested, it is unknown how widespread her
support is, though she was popular in office and had vast local and regional
support during her time in ZANU-PF. Mujuru’s political party could become a
major player in the large pool of opposition parties. Other notable minor
opposition parties are the Freedom Party, Transform Zimbabwe (TZ), United
Parties, and Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU). That this is a different,
reformed ZAPU than the one that fought during the Rhodesian Bush War and
subsequently merged with ZANU into today’s ZANU-PF. Many other minor opposition
parties exist. The lack of unity amongst opposition parties, as well as the
support of individual party leaders as opposed to actual parties, poses a
serious obstacle to the primary goal shared by all these parties: defeating
Mugabe.

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