29 April, 2013Issue 22.1AfricaPhoto EssaysTravel

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Zimbabwe: The Years Between

Yulia Taranova

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In a referendum in March 2013, an overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans voted in support of a new constitution. This paves the way for free and fair elections and will limit the power of President Robert Mugabe, who has led the country since winning the post-independence elections in 1980. Under the new constitution, a president will be limited to two five-year terms in office and will no longer have a veto on legislation.

Mugabe lost the 2009 presidential election to Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change, but in the political upheaval which followed Tsvangirai failed to win power outright and entered as prime minister into the Coalitional Government Agreement with Mugabe. Zimbabwe has been in urgent need of constitutional change ever since.

Travelling across Zimbabwe between these two events in 2009 and 2013 I met very different people, but they all craved free and fair elections. The country may at last be on the cusp of positive change, but these photographs are a record of the time spent waiting.

Yulia Taranova is reading for a Master’s in Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Financial Times and Forbes. She has also worked for the UN in Geneva and in investment business focused on development projects in Africa.