Mugabe Decides To “Announce Results”

So the “elections” in Zimbabwe are heading into a run-off – clearly a move by Mugabe aimed at keeping the power – with “war veterans” harassing the opposition, surrounding countries quietly condoning the bullshit, it’s going to be a great show of democratic power – does anyone still believe that this is a fair election? But then again, Mugabe isn’t in the business of explaining things, is he? Everyone should be thankful that he finally decided to do anything about the situation. The problem now is of course a very serious one: if opposition ignores the run-off, Mugabe “wins” the election, if they participate, then Mugabe’s thugs will intimidate the voters and even if MDC wins again, how’s to say the results will ever see the light of day? So this is a “do-over” election and we all know it’s a mockery of democracy:

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s opposition leader defeated President Robert Mugabe in the presidential election but faces a run-off vote after he failed to win an outright majority, the electoral body said. Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai won 47.9 percent of the vote on March 29 and Mugabe took 43.2 percent, said Chief Elections Officer Lovemore Sekeramayi. The result was announced after a verification process by the candidates to check the result, but an opposition MDC spokesman said the announcement was scandalous and described it as “daylight robbery”. He said the party executive would decide on the next move. Read the rest.

I remember in 1990s in Russia people sabotaged elections by voting “Against All” – do they have that option on the Zimbabwe ballots? – Russian goverment since decided to eliminate the option since “Against All” sometimes “won” the elections…

Post-Colonial Dictator: Down With [Insert Former Colonial Power]!

It is of course silly to imagine that postcolonialism is always a discourse of liberation and local self-determination. It is also mistaken to think that African countries have long moved on from their colonial past. However, the situation in Zimbabwe and South Africa show that the colonial past is still very much an issue today: South African Mbeki refusing to acknowledge a crisis is afraid of being accused of colonial sympathies, Mugabe speaking for the first time since the election is all about painting the fight as a matter of anti-colonialism: Continue reading

Zimbabwe Crisis.

Among some recent and disturbing news from Zimbabwe are the rumors of violence, intimidation and the usual repressive tactics that Robert Mugabe is known for – what makes this situation so intriguing is the fact that Mugabe began his political career as a fighter for independence. He is not the first one to go from the freedom fighter to dictator, but it’s still very sad to see an old man trying to hold on to the power that he was fighting against not so long ago. With most of the country in poverty and most of the land going from the white owners to Mugabe cronies (despite Mugabe’s loud rhetoric of giving the land to the poor), one wonders if anything will help the situation. The powerful and corrupt elite that still lives in luxury despite the inflation and the catastrophic unemployment is not going to give up their privilege voluntarily – let’s see how the institutions of democracy really work. South African leaders are holding a talk about the situation:

Saturday’s talks in Zambia were called amid the failure of Zimbabwe’s election commission to publish results of the presidential election held 12 days ago. The opposition has refused to take part in any second round run-off vote. Mr Tsvangirai is in Botswana, where a minister quoted him as saying he had left a tense Zimbabwe to ask for help. At a news conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Thursday, the Movement for Democratic Change said the delay of results amounted to “a constitutional coup d’etat”. Read the rest.

Mugabe Recovers, Raids an Opposition Office.

Mugabe: I just had the worst dream ever!

Subservient Minister: What was it, master?

Mugabe: I dreamed that there was one of those things that we have every once in a while when people come together and say things about me…

Zanu-PF Official: A rally in your support?

Mugabe: No, one of those election things which I always win, but this time I actually lost. Man, that would have been so “disgraceful,” you know? To actually lose an election that I have orchestrated to be rigged, to lose after I have made sure all the officials are on my side – I woke up in cold sweat…

Deputy Information Minister: Well, it was just a dream, Mr. President.

Mugabe: You’re right. But still I feel like doing something democratic this morning. How about raiding an opposition party office or something? We can say that the lights were on and we just came in to check if things were alright… Wait, we don’t really have to justify our behavior to anyone in this country!

BBC: The MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) said its offices in Harare were ransacked on Thursday. It denied that Mr Tsvangirai had gone into hiding and said he was “safe”. At least two foreign nationals were arrested in a raid on a hotel in the capital, accused of working as journalists without accreditation.

One has been named as Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist, Barry Bearak, and the other is said to be a British journalist. Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga said the authorities were trying to find out whether they were involved in espionage. “They were taking pictures obviously of police and they annoyed the police who arrested them and we want to find out whether they are journalists or they are British or American agents – who are posing as journalists,” he told the BBC.

Appearance of Democracy

With all the accusations of electoral violations – direct and indirect – in the recent Russian elections, past American elections (2000 and some in 2004) and the presently growing more and more tense elections in Zimbabwe, one wonders why those who clearly do not like the idea of giving up power even try to hold elections.  Mugabe was in power for 28 years, why hold elections and try to rig them? I mean why is the appearance of democracy, even though everyone knows it’s just an appearance, so important? If Putin declared that he wanted to stay for the third term (or indefinitely), I am sure there would be some protests, but with the repressive resources of the police and the army, any of those could have been easily put down.  There would be international problems as the Western democratic governments would not like it, but so what? It’s not 1917, and the West supports many despotic governments? Why play the game of democracy?

Continue reading

Rigging Elections Takes Time: Zimbabwe Votes

Robert Mugabe has been in power for 28 years and, despite Zimbabwe’s astonishing 100,000% inflation (it’s always bad when you need a comma to indicate a number of inflation) and general economic conditions, he intends to stay in power. Well, this seemed to be his campaign strategy: I was here before and I will not leave!  Early reports show that the opposition candidate – Morgan Tsvangirai – got 67% of the vote and is about to declare victory, but the official results are not out.

BBC contributors say opposition activists have been celebrating in the towns of Bulawayo and Mutare in the east. A spokesman for Mr Makoni told the BBC News website that the MDC had “swept the board” in the parliamentary election, with several ministers losing their seats. But the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said the country must wait for official results and appealed for patience, as four elections were held at the same time.  Chief elections officer Lovemore Sekeramayi said in a statement: “The commission notes with concern that some stakeholders have gone on to announce purported results of the poll when in fact the results are being verified and collated.” Those results are not official results of the poll.” The MDC says the commission was appointed by Mr Mugabe and is not to be trusted. BBC 

So let’s see what the official results will be, but one needs to understand that if it is indeed the case that 67% voted for Tsvangirai, then rigging this kind of election takes time, so let’s wait and see everyone, let’s wait and see…