Going it alone: opposition politics in Zimbabwe
Say "opposition party" in Zimbabwe and people either laugh or cry. There has been little opposition in Parliament since the 1987 ZANU-ZAPU Unity Accord. This alliance gave ZANU-PF virtually complete control of Zimbabwean political space. To date, few opposition parties have shown any potential for mounting a concerted challenge to ZANU(PF). They are widely perceived as weak and having little grass-roots support. The recent phenomenon of "independent" candidates contesting power in local elections, however, suggests that the situation may be changing. As we shall see, through skilled use of the courts and Zimbabwe's electoral laws and constitution, opposition politicians - loosely organized as the Movement of Independent Candidates (MIC) - have begun to challenge the ruling party's monopoly on political access, making incremental gains in `leveling' the political arena. At the same time, the long-term prognosis for a more democratic and pluralistic Zimbabwean polity is unclear for reasons which shall be discussed in this article.