Review of the "President": Zimbabwe's Struggle for Democracy

Eight months after Robert Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe autocratically for almost 30 years from 1980, was ousted in a coup in 2017 , the na...


Eight months after Robert Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe autocratically for almost 30 years from 1980, was ousted in a coup in 2017, the nation was to elect a new president in its first democratic election since Mugabe’s reign began.

Camilla Nielsson offers viewers a front row seat in the July 2018 election in ‘President,’ a gripping documentary that follows Nelson Chamisa, a charismatic 40-year-old lawyer, as he runs against Emmerson Mnangagwa, the strongman who overthrew Mugabe.

Nielsson’s access to Chamisa allows an intimate look into the trap of establishing democracy amid state-sanctioned violence and corruption, and the courage of those who stand up for it. The juxtaposition of the candidates’ strategies is evident when, as the two sides arrive at a courthouse on a pivotal case, the camera looks first at the pile of papers with which the opposition will plead, then at the police. which stores batons.

Chamisa says repeatedly that he is ready to die for his cause. His charisma and connection to the people make him an excellent anchor for the film, reflecting and representing Zimbabwe’s decades-long struggle for a just democracy. The film includes poignant images of citizens beaten, sprayed and gunned down by the military and police for demonstrating in favor of Chamisa.

President Mnangagwa claims victory in the election, despite allegations of electoral fraud raised by the opposition. It’s a grim ending for a film that opens with and is supported by Zimbabweans’ hope for change.

President
Unclassified. Duration: 2 hours. In theaters.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Review of the "President": Zimbabwe's Struggle for Democracy
Review of the "President": Zimbabwe's Struggle for Democracy
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