The 2018 elections will be the 11th since Independence in 1980. The consistency and steadfast timing of these elections suggest the existence of forms of advanced democracy enjoyed by a happy family who rely on clear rules of engagement. Yet out of these seemingly choreographed processes, elections have been disputed. The 2002 and the 2008 elections were historically and extremely violent and many people were killed, raped, tortured, displaced, etc. Property was destroyed and billions worth of investments were lost. From 2002 Zimbabwe has become a pariah state.

In the context of the momentous changes to the Zimbabwean polity, the predilection for violent political problem solving is examined. By reference to public data on political violence for the period 1998 to 2018, Zimbabwe is compared with four of its neighbours in SADC that share a common history of armed struggle; Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The analysis shows Zimbabwe to the most violent of the five countries, with most violence aimed at civilians by political militia, and a very significant amount of the violence (46%) occurs during elections.