Ahead of upcoming elections in July, Robert Mugabe has been pushing the contentious empowerment policy, which gives a 51% stake in foreign-owned banks, mines and other commercial operations to local Zimbabweans. In his 30 years in power, Mugabe and his Zanu-PF Party have been consistently anti-Imperialist in speech and government policy. Zimbabwe has paid a heavy price with Western nations unifying in their imposition of sanctions to pressurize his government out of power.
Despite little coverage of the facts, many investors are putting their monies into Zimbabwe's economy. All this despite a tense 5 years political coalition between ZANU-PF and the Western favored Movement for Democratic Change. Empowerment policies are seemingly well supported and understood by the Zimbabwean electorate. It is a kind of democratic principle not available under Capitalist orientated policies. Various analysts, fund managers and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change have criticized the policy, saying it drives away foreign direct investment. Tsvangirai has vowed to reverse the policy if he is voted into power.
In essence, Zimbabwe's coming election is not just a test of Mugabe's political popularity; it is also a heated debate about how to transfer power to the people. After the chaos of the 2008 elections which led to the current uneasy coalition, this election will be a real test of optimism and democratic practice in Zimbabwe.