Campaigning, coercion and clientelism: ZANU-PF’s strategies in Zimbabwe’s presidential elections (2008-13)
Why do competitive authoritarian regimes (CARs) campaign, instead of just relying on violence and manipulation to win elections? This study addresses this question through an analysis of how and why Zimbabwe's ruling party, Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front's (ZANU-PF), campaigned in Presidential elections in 2008 and 2013.
It finds that, overall, ZANU-PF’s electoral campaigns were an uneasy combination of legitimacy-seeking and non-legitimacy seeking, persuasive and coercive, and mobilising and chasing electoral campaign strategies. I argue that these strategies are deployed unevenly across space, depending on constituency type and timing. The findings challenge received generalizations about use of coercion, legitimising discourses, and persuasive and programmatic appeals by competitive authoritarian regimes like ZANU-PF.
The thesis uses nested sub-national comparative analysis incorporating national descriptive statistics with detailed qualitative analysis of presidential election campaigns at the national and subnational levels. It focuses on ZANU-PF campaigns across space (constituency types in different provinces) and time (two electoral cycles, including run-offs).