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Abstract: In early 2002, world attention turned to the upcoming election in the southern Africa nation of Zimbabwe. Once viewed as a model of relative prosperity and potential, as well as democracy in sub-Saharan black Africa, the nation faced political violence, an AIDS epidemic, and food and fuel shortages, under the rule of long-time president Robert Mugabe, the one-time revolutionary leader in what was once white-ruled Rhodesia. This case focuses on the political strategy and campaign of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), an opposition party led by former labor leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The MDC faced the daunting challenge of waging a peaceful and successful campaign notwithstanding what were widely viewed around the world as increasingly anti-democratic steps taken by Mugabe--including land seizures of white-owned farms and potential vote-rigging. Tsvangirai must balance a desire for victory with concern for his personal safety, concern for stability in Zimbabwe, and the long-term prospects for the MDC and democracy in Zimbabwe.
Learning Objective: The case can be used as the basis for discussion of leadership strategy, as well as political ethics in a situation that was arguably dire.