WASHINGTON DC —
When any country approaches an election, it seems everyone becomes impatient for the voting and wants to know - first, who will win, and – second - what will happen after that.
To try and get some answers to those questions, on Tuesday the National Endowment for Democracy (NED in Washington DC is convening three panels.
The first brought together civil society leaders from Zimbabwe. None of the panelists made a specific prediction about which candidate would win the presidential vote, for example, but they did discuss general scenarios.
The consensus is that the vote is likely to result in one of three ways - the first is a Zanu PF victory and the re-election of Robert Mugabe as president.
The second is a Movement for Democratic Change victory with Morgan Tsvangirai carrying enough votes to become the next president. The third is a win by Welshman Ncube.
Representing the organization Women of Zimbabwe Arise, national coordinator Jenni Williams said the biggest concern is whether the army might feel obligated to intervene in any of those outcomes.
If that were to happen, she predicts, the Southern African Development Community and the African Union would likely try to negotiate a second coalition government.
When asked how the business community might react to the reelection of President Mugabe, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Oswell Binha said the acceptability of the election was not so much who wins, but whether or not the outcome was the result of the lawful process.
Other panelists included Glanis Changachirere from Young Women Development, Foster Dongozi from the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, and Japhet Moyo of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
We will have more from Tuesday’s panels Wednesday evening and online.
The Voice of America also held a panel on the subject of post-election Zimbabwe last week. If you missed it, the video is available at www.voazimbabwe.com