Saturday, June 28, 2008

Harare Horror Continues

Robert Mugabe's thugs continue their rampaging across the country, even after spending yesterday intimidating the opposition and voters in general into voting for Mugabe in an election where the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai dropped out because of the incessant threats against his life.
Roaming bands of government supporters heckled, harassed or threatened people into voting in a runoff election in which President Robert Mugabe was the only candidate, ensuring he will remain in power despite international condemnation of the balloting as a sham.

Residents said they were forced to vote Friday by threats of violence or arson from the Mugabe supporters, who searched for anyone without an ink-stained finger - the telltale sign that they had cast a ballot.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who withdrew from the runoff after an onslaught of state-sponsored violence against his Democratic Movement for Change, said the results would "reflect only the fear of the people."

The UN Security Council unanimously "agreed that the conditions for free and fair elections did not exist and it was a matter of deep regret that elections went ahead," said US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who is current council president.
The elections went ahead anyway, and we know what the result is - a stolen election. The early numbers show that Mugabe got 2/3 of the vote, as if that means anything. There's no word on the turnout, which was reported to be extremely light in defiance of Mugabe, but which was supplemented by Mugabe's goons who terrorized people into coming out to vote for Mugabe. It was a vote cast under threat of violence.

So, what is the UN or anyone else for that matter doing about it? Well, diplomats are doing what they always do. They're talking. No action here. Just talk. They're talking about how they need to have justice and accountability for the victims of the electoral fraud. How exactly are they going to manage that when they can't even agree on strong sanctions, which is about as strong as the UN will ever get on such matters? And the UN statement stopped short of calling the election illegitimate. That's quite a way for the UN to take a principled stand, but then again, the UN wouldn't know a principle if it clubbed them on the head.

The Kenyans think that sanctions wont work. They're probably right. Mugabe is sufficiently insulated against foreign pressure so they wont affect him directly. And it's quite clear he couldn't care about what happens to the people of his country since Mugabe has overseen and directed the total collapse of the economy.

The African Union is proposing a power-sharing arrangement between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, though I wonder how reasonable it is for anyone to assume that either Mugabe or Tsvangirai would agree to such a thing given that Mugabe holds the power, Tsvangirai is spending his days at the Dutch Embassy for fear of his life from Mugabe's goons, and no one appears willing to force Mugabe to the sidelines.
African Union foreign ministers argued behind closed doors Friday about how to respond to Zimbabwe's political crisis. Diplomats attending the meeting described it as heated, with ministers sharply divided over a proposed power sharing deal similar to the one reached in Kenya after last December's disputed election.

Diplomats roughly described the deal as giving opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai the post of prime minister in a government led by President Robert Mugabe, with the understanding that Mr. Mugabe would not run in the next election, to be held in 2010.

African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping said heads of state would take up the issue at a special meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council during the summit. He told reporters he is convinced the continental body can find a credible solution.

"A debate will go on the level of heads of state, and some decisions might be taken," he said. "There are discussions going on, on an inclusive government, which was called by some as the Kenya model, which mean that sharing power. This has been mentioned according to you by Tsvangirai, himself and the government is also talking about an inclusive government."
I suspect that Mugabe intends to let Tsvangirai appear to be in a power-sharing arrangement while Mugabe retains all the power. Mugabe would not willingly relinquish power and has said that he intends to remain in power until he dies, a clear slap at what can only now be described as a former democracy in Zimbabwe.

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