It's been over two weeks since opposition leader Morgan Tsvangarai was elected president of Zimbabwe. In that time, the ruling ZANU-PF mafia have been trying to rig results so preserve their rule and that of dictator Bob Mugabe. But what was expected to be a simple rigging process, undertaken many times in Zimbabwe's history, has become complicated by a number of factors.
-International pressure on Zimbabwe's regional allies who in turn put pressure on the Mugabe regime;
-The unexpectedly well-organized opposition;
-The announcement by Zimbabwean officials that the opposition had gained control of the parliament.
The last two events are the most surprising. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change had been divided and disorganized following an internal power struggle. But the party seems to have been well-prepared for this election, despite the pre-election violence in the country that made campaigning (for the opposition) nearly impossible.
International pressure on other southern African countries have borne surprising results. South African president Thabo Mbeki remains Mugabe's chief regional apologist. But the leader of Mbeki's party has hit out at Mugabe
, calling him to concede defeat. This is all the more surprising since ANC party president Jacob Zuma has been accused in the past of being just like Mugabe
While Zuma surely didn't mind poking the eye of his bitter rival Mbeki, this is a far more rational position for his country than Mbeki's clearly failed appeasement approach. Zimbabwe's economic and social meltdown
has dramatic implications for neighboring South Africa, where thousands of economic and political refugees have already fled.
The Zimbabwean ambassador to the UN deceitfully compared his country's elections with the controversial US elections of 2000. He pointed out that no one attributed malice to the 6-week process between Election Day and the Supreme Court's annointing of George W. Bush. But he conveniently omits a few important facts. The initial results were made public rather quickly. This allowed the process that followed to be transparent, if messy. The fact that the regime refuses to release initial election results, in stark contrast to Florida 2000, combined with the regime's long history of theft (both of public money and elections) is what makes suspicions so strong.
Regional talks on the Zimbabwe crisis bizarrely center around Simba Makoni. The former ZANU-PF finance minister who is believed (and we don't know for sure because of the secrecy) to have gotten only 6 percent or so of the vote is seen by some as a compromise choice to allow the ZANU-PF to save face without having to concede to President-elect Tsvangarai. But I fail to see the logic of installing a man who received 6 percent of the vote ahead of a man who received 54 percent, nor do I see how the Zimbabweans who want majority rule would accept this.
Mugabe and his thieving cronies have spent the last decade destroying Zimbabwe to line their own pockets Whenever they've felt their power threatened, they've picked fights with white people. But ultimately the whites are not the ones who've suffered most from Mugabe's destruction. The primary victims are the blacks who can't afford to flee this dystopia.
So despite the state campaign of terror and intimidation, it's no surprise that most Zimbabweans voted against the ruling mafia. The regime has become yet another African movement to betray its ideals and run its country into the ground just to hold to power for a privileged elite.
Mugabe's ZANU movement spent most of the 1970s fighting on behalf majority rule
Now they are spending much of 2008 fighting against majority rule.Update: This article explains why so many of Mugabe's cronies are so desperate to cling to power. And if I'd been murdering opposition supporters, I'd probably be nervous too.
Labels: Morgan Tsvangarai, Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe