Skip to comments.Another fraudulent victory (South Africa turns blind eye to tyranny in Zimbabwe)
Posted on 04/02/2005 1:31:36 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
Zanu-PF was last night on course to win a two-thirds majority in Zimbabwes parliamentary election, but the fraudulent nature of its victory is no guarantee of stability. As the results emerged yesterday , both the head of the opposition and the leading Roman Catholic prelate hinted at mass protests. Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said Robert Mugabes government had once again stolen the peoples votes and that this time his party was not going to pursue its grievances through the courts. He did not elaborate on what it was planning to do instead, but implied that his followers would take to the streets. Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, one of the presidents most outspoken critics, said there had been much tampering with the vote in rural areas and that Zimbabweans were entitled to stage a peaceful uprising against the government. Given the thuggery displayed by Zanu-PF in defence of its hold on power, its opponents can have no illusions about the dangers of openly defying the ruling party. Yet such is their frustration with a president who has wrecked the economy and all but destroyed civil society that they may, courageously, run that risk. In that, they deserve the support of Zimbabwes neighbours and the wider world.
The result obviously reflects badly on an odious tyrant. But it also damages the image of southern Africa, and even of the whole continent south of the Sahara. In recent years, two notable attempts have been made to lift Africa out of the doldrums. The first, adopted by the Organisation for African Unity in 2001, is the New Partnership for Africas Development (Nepad), a strategy for renewal that links good governance with increased assistance from the developed world. The second, launched last month, is the report of the Commission for Africa set up by Tony Blair, which calls for huge new aid flows to the continent and cancellation of its debts.
Both these initiatives express a welcome determination to confront chronic problems. But both are undermined by misrule, and nowhere more so than in Zimbabwe. This is not just because of what Mr Mugabe has done, but also because South Africa, the powerhouse of the continent, is complicit in his tyranny by turning a blind eye to abuses. President Thabo Mbeki had the gall to pronounce Thursdays elections free and fair even before they had taken place. And he is a key figure in the various north-south moves to regenerate black Africa.
The faith of the British Government in Mr Mbeki is tragically misplaced. In the case of Zimbabwe, the former metropolitan power is understandably anxious not be accused of neo-colonialism. So it has chosen to believe the South African presidents lie that quiet diplomacy will persuade Mugabe to mend his ways. That abdication of responsibility has betrayed the MDC and its supporters, and has not prevented Mr Blair from being portrayed as a bogeyman by Zanu-PF during the campaign. It is hard to imagine a more futile policy.
In the wake of this election, the third of such fraudulent exercises perpetrated on Zimbabwe in the past five years, the Government needs to tell Mr Mbeki that failure to put pressure on Mr Mugabe is endangering both Nepad and the Blair initiative. The outside world can hardly be expected to take African promises of reform seriously while this sore of petty despotism is allowed to fester.
...........Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC president, was apparently undismayed by his party's expected inability to block the two-thirds majority.
"It's become a Zimbabwe ritual. This time we won't go to court as it would be a waste of time.
"The courts sat on the last parliamentary challenges for five years and on the presidential election since 2002. So there's no point.
"I haven't seen many of the South African observers but it is clear the South African government wants the Zanu-PF regime to continue and there is nothing we can do about that."
South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, is Mr Mugabe's key supporter and trading partner.
In a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Mr Straw said: "What is clear is that the elections were seriously flawed and that Mugabe has yet again denied ordinary Zimbabweans a free and fair opportunity to vote.
"Credible observers have noted that although there was less violence than during the 2000 and 2002 elections, harassment and intimidation by the ruling party and the government continued."
More than 250 women protesters arrested at a "peace" vigil in a public garden in the city centre on Thursday were released in Harare yesterday, some with serious injuries..........[story LINKED at source]
Ballot stuffing.. Mugabe's fat women holding his picture brigade.. the gang rape squads...it's so depressing.
Yes. It is.
The people have to rise up.
US to Zimbabwe: your elections are unjust
The United States said today the Zimbabwe election process was neither free nor fair and called on the government to "recognise the legitimacy of the opposition and abandon policies designed to repress, crush and otherwise stifle expressions of differences in Zimbabwe".
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party won parliamentary elections today, tightening his grip on power, but the opposition said it had been cheated for the third time in five years.
"Although the campaign and election day itself were generally peaceful, the election process was not free and fair," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a written statement.
"Results are still coming in, but it is already clear that many Zimbabweans have rejected the government's failed policies and are calling for change," she added. "We hope the government will hear and respect these voices."
After a day that began with early successes for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, ZANU-PF racked up huge returns from rural areas and looked set to grab a two-thirds majority in parliament.
"The electoral playing field was heavily tilted in the government's favour," Rice said.
"The independent press was muzzled; freedom of assembly was constrained; food was used as a weapon to sway hungry voters; and millions of Zimbabweans who have been forced by the nation's economic collapse to emigrate were disenfranchised," she added.
Rice said that more than 10 per cent of would-be voters were turned away at polling stations, and a disproportionately higher ratio of these were turned away in the districts most hotly contested by the government and the opposition.
"The United States calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to recognise the legitimacy of the opposition and abandon policies designed to repress, crush and otherwise stifle expressions of differences in Zimbabwe," she said.
"Zimbabwe's leaders have a responsibility to address the political and economic problems that have wrecked what only a few years ago was one of Africa's success stories," she added.
"By restoring democratic institutions and respecting the wishes of its people, Zimbabwe can retake its place as an honorable member of the world community."
I don't live there but I can guess why we may not see an uprising anytime soon. First and foremost, they're surrounded by people who won't support them. Mbeki will take Mugabe's side and may send in troops which will be rich to watch all things considering in the long history of Southern African region. I can't imagine being a poor farmer with children and hating Mugabe. Lastly, I don't think they're expecting to be supported by the UN at all. Condi nailed Mugage for being an outpost of terror but it's all up to the people themselves. Communism makes people impotent with fear though. Look at how long Castro has been in office. Plus, many of the Shona people rather fall back on old tribal beliefs than take a leap of faith. Can't say I blame them though.
The loss of a free press has left them isolated.
YES! exactly... you nailed it. which is why folks like Cathy Buckle are so important. It's a miracle she's still able to get emails out. I believe Andrew Meldrum's book is coming out soon too.
An amazing woman.
Yes who gets a lot of scorn from some folks, but that's because they've left and she hasn't. As much as some don't like her, she's a lifeline of info for the side of right there.
She certainly is.
What the oppressed people of Zimbabwe need is guns, not food aid which is manipulated to support Mugabe and ZANU-PF.
They need a lot of things but mostly they need to see Mugabe for what he is, their enemy.
Sooner or later the people will have had enough. We see it happening here. The Minuteman Project is one example. DeLay and the judges is another. Although it remains to be seen,when and how, people will fight back.
It's happening the same way in Venezuela.
Chavez is arming his supporters and terrorizing his opponents.
Neither Mugabe or Chavez are duly elected.
The paper has removed the page on their web site. Interesting!
Besides, this one is Tony Blair's mess to clean up.
Scrappleface's take on the situation....
April 02, 2005
Condi Congratulates Zimbabwe's Mugabe on Reelection
by Scott Ott
"Under Mr. Mugabe's leadership," said Secretary Rice in a written statement, "Zimbabwe has become a recognized world leader in unemployment (70%), inflation (~620%) and HIV adult prevalence rate (33.7%). Thanks to this popular, legally-reelected, leader, the average lifespan of a Zimbabwean has gone from 61 years to 34 years in just the past 15 years, making his nation one of the most rapidly-youthful in the world."
Secretary Rice hailed Mr. Mugabe's leadership as "a textbook case which will be studied in universities around the world for years to come."
In addition to his legal reelection, the 81-year-old Mr. Mugabe's party this week legally won approximately 70 seats in the 150-seat legislature, and he legally will appoint an additional 30 legislators, giving him the two-thirds majority needed legally to re-write the constitution to allow him legally to hand-pick his successor.
As a reelection gift, U.S. Ambassador Joseph Sullivan presented Mr. Mugabe with a bound copy of President George Bush's second inaugural address with this excerpt engraved on the cover.
"All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you."