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Should Tsvangirai accept a runoff poll in Zimbabwe?

May 3, 2008

MDC leader Morgan TsvangiraiAfter a month of withholdingZimbabwe’s presidential poll results, electoral authorities on May 2 announced what was widely known to be the real outcome: President Robert Mugabe had lost the vote. The announcement gave opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai 47.9 percent of the vote but said he faces a runoff after failing to gain enough votes for an outright majority. Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change denounced the result as scandalous and maintained its stand that it had won more than 50 percent of the vote and that Mugabe’s 28-year rule was over.

The MDC faces a huge dilemma. If it boycotts a runoff poll, it would hand victory to Mugabe by default. But in the view of the MDC, human rights groups and Western governments, no fair or credible runoff poll can be held in Zimbabwe under a current climate of violence and intimidation they say is orchestrated by Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF. The MDC and Mugabe’s critics at home and abroad have also condemned the unprecedented delay in announcing the presidential result as part of the government’s grand plan to rig the vote in favour of Mugabe.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement: “The ruling party’s bloody crackdown on the opposition makes a free and fair runoff vote a tragic joke. The violence must stop and an impartial process be put in place before any new vote is held.”

Mugabe was quick to declare his willingness to go for a runoff. The MDC said there were issues it needed to consider before deciding on whether or not to participate. Should Tsvangirai accept a runoff to avoid handing victory to Mugabe? Should there be international intervention in Zimbabwe to avert wider bloodshed and if so what form should this take? Have your say.


The MDC (and Tsvangirai) have limited options. The whole idea was well thoughtout by Bob’s Joint Operations Command (JOC).
1. Delay of results
The Delay of results assisted in removing a reveting and catastrophic atmosphere that was going to engulf the country with an immidiate announcement of opposition victory. The delay allowed the military, police and militia adequate time to crackdown (before pathetic and useless SADC observers come for rerun)

2. Unleashing of violence
Many pple are supprised why Zim pple are cowd so easily using brutal force. The older generation which saw the civil war (liberation) in the 70s are still smarting from the brutality of Zanu (PF). My parents, for instance, are too scared of the repeat of what they witnessed. Feeding rebels that cook your fellows suspected of backing white gvt. Overnight pungwes to indocrinate masses were as natural as day and night.

3. Rig the vote
Every sane person knows that Bob has tempered with the systems. Either outright rigging or through the violent arrest of independent officials. The MDC contents that there would be a reshuffle to officils to bring in ‘maleable’ ones.

4. Disperse voters
Bob has managed to disperse opposition voters meaning that he is assured a considerable number would not vote in their wards. Thats simple strategy that works efficienctly.

Its either they shy away and hand Bob the much needed legitimacy or contest under a barrage of impossibilities the JOC have laid out for them.

Posted by Zivhave Philip | Report as abusive

Im a Zimbabwean and i dont know of any of my fellow country men who want ZANU to be in power. We are tired of being second class citizens in our own country. We never voted for ZANU and will never do so . MDC should never be in the re-run because we know they wont win.THEY WON WHATS LEFT IS TO LOSE of which Bob will make sure they do because he will stop at nothing to stay in power.

Posted by Guga | Report as abusive

I am just a son of Mother African and loving observor of the people of Zimbabwe and its country. I do understand the reasons behind the scepticism of those who dismiss the now announced second round as a joke but urge the Zimbabwean Opposition, the MDC in particular, to stand formly with those Zimbabweans, who trusted their votes on them. Do not abandon them in the middle of the roads and desert. It is time to stick together and honour those who have been forced to pay the highest price for the reunited, strong and prosperous Zimbabwe you all want now and for the future. Use the coming opprotunity to start reconstructing the nation and its beloved country and let yourselves be guided by a dignified sense of responsibility for Zombabwe to regain its rightful place in our Africa first and the world at large. Stand up, you would be better loose with dignity rather than shy away and live cowardly.

Posted by Daniel Ntoni-Nzinga | Report as abusive

I hope that International involvement may assist in what is a very difficult and painful situation for ordinary Zimbabwean people. It is important that the violence and intimidation stops. People need to be able to vote in peace and without fear.

Posted by Roland Browne | Report as abusive

There is one thing we can count on MDC’s do: i.e. to do the wrong thing!

Whatever reason(s) can proffer to justify why MDC should NOT take part in the run-off the fact of the matter is all of those reason(s) have existed on the ground for weeks. Mugabe deployed the war veterans, the green bombers, etc. within a day or two of knowing the results of the 29 March vote, for example. His intention for deploying the party thugs was self evident and so was the reason ZEC delayed announcing the results of the presidential race. There was absolutely nothing new Mugabe has done in the last four weeks none of us we did not already know or had guessed.

Tsvangirai for his part, he too has done nothing new in the four weeks to all Mugabe’s machinations. True to form he has do what he has always done: the wrong thing. He should have made it abundantly clear that he would NOT take part in the run-off in the atmosphere of wide spread intimidation and murder Mugabe’s thugs had created, for example. Boycotting the run-off now begs the question: did it take hundreds of thousands of beating and torture victims and twenty murdered to finally convince him the political atmosphere was not conducive to free and fair run-off?

Of course refusing to take part in the run-off would be the most logical and sensible thing to do. Tsvangirai himself has been out of Zimbabwe for weeks now “because he feared for his life!” How can he then be expected to have any meaningful campaign programme when he does not feel safe to return back to Zimbabwe?

The 29 March 2008 elections are the closest to free and fair elections Zimbabwe has ever come in its 28 year history. A fact that nearly costed Mugabe the presidency! He was forced to run that risk for one reason; he desperately needed international acceptance and credibility of the election results. The shocking defeat has forced him to take a number of measures he had disregarded as the last five weeks have shown. He nonetheless needs the international acceptance and credibility now even more than ever.

The Zimbabwe economy is hit rock bottom. The people have had to do without the most basic essentials of life for a long, long time. Mugabe knows he simply has do something to get the economy back of track because the people’s anger can not be contained for much longer. The cup is now full and overflowing. And this is why he has been courting international community; the Zimbabwe economic recovery is a pipedream without their financial help. The international community will not lift a finger to help unless they are satisfied the election/ run-off result is a true reflection of the free political will of the people of Zimbabwe.

If MDC does not take part in the run-off Mugabe can claim victory but the international community will not be fooled. And without economic recovery Mugabe’s rule will end soon with a violent outburst of the people’s long bottled anger and despair.

MDC should have done the right thing a long time ago; still it would be great for the party to do the right thing, better late than never! Do not hold your breathe, MDC has a great knack for doing the wrong thing.

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

I lived next door to Zim for 2 decades and my children are born South Africans. Fortunately we live in Europe since the late seventies, so we could avoid all the present warlike times in those beautiful and former rich countries on the southern tip of Africa. NOBODY should think that OLD BOB is stepping down. The delay in publishing the results was only the overture to the main act to follow, that will be a “landslide victory” for mushroom Mugabe. Like all mushrooms only the head shows up while all the roots are underground only to support that poisonous head. Thus whether the MDC will take part in the runoff or whether that criminal Mugabe will declare himself the winner due to non participation of the MDC is completely immaterial. HE IS THE WINNER ALREADY!!! Furthermore nobody should be surprised that Thabo Mbeki points out that there is no problem in Zimbabwe and that he does not want to interfere. They are all brothers in arms and trained and maintained earlier by the former communist countries. Now by those remaining like the former Portugues neighbours, Namibia, whose president is watching Mugabe with admiration. And Mbeki is probably eagerly learning from his comrade. Then there are still other countries like Cuba and surely Red China, the latter already busy to get its foot in, only now very quietly due to the Olympics. When a Zim presidents adviser tells Mugabe that they have too many inhabitants and they should get rid of some millions to come down to about 4 Million (surely all and only ZANU supporters). South Africa is also already getting rid of its white population (already 2 Mio of well educated and trained people have left. Now you can see what the plan behind all this is. Some South African “freedom fighter”, although only fighting with words from safe havens abroad, were always shouting to chase the whites back into the sea from where the came. And that is what these criminals are up to. I wonder how many millions Old Bob has already packed away in safe bank deposits. And if it was not for the poor ordinary folks and especially the children, we should close our eyes and let them fight it out among themselves and never ever support them with any help whatsoever. Sorry for having to be so straight but this is African reality or African Renaissance as Thabo Mbeki calls it. Let us see what will happen to the next election or the one after that in South Africa and lets pray that no innocent people will have to suffer.

Posted by former rooinek | Report as abusive

Yes he should to avoid an automatic handing over of power to Mugabe

Posted by Emmerson Munangagwa | Report as abusive

If MDC does not take part in the run-off then you can be sure of one thing the International community will not recognise Mugabe as having won a free and fair elections. Not after all the charade that has gone on in Zimbabwe for the last five weeks. And without international recognition he will have no help to get the Zimbabwe economy back on track.

We can all our bit to increase the pressure on Mugabe but the economic melt down will constitute the greatest pressure. Civic society, the opposition, workers, unemployed and ordinary Zimbabwe everywhere have to cooperate like never before is demonstrating that the hardship they are all facing in Zimbabwe are simply unacceptable. And demand action!

The poltical system Mugabe has established in Zimbabwe has served him and the cronies close to him well but have served the rest of us badly. We deserve better and demand better!We all have a share in Zimbabwe and deserve to have our suffering and voices heard.

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

The MDC should contest this run off and finish off the dictator. People are eargely waiting o dismiss this regime which has shown no sign of respect for the electorate. We now know that the MDC was robed of their victory, but come this run off thing, all will be out to revenge and convincingly sent Robert home to retire. We are so much for you MDC, never you worry about the conditions, for Zanu will never ever create a level playing field.Expect a more rougher and tougher playing ground in a runoff, but like you won before, this time it will be convincing. People are tired!!!

Posted by Joe Magaka | Report as abusive

He should accept a run-off. ofcourse, the world will be watching how shameless Mugabe will be to interfere with the process.

Mark Oloo, Kenya

Posted by Mark Oloo | Report as abusive

Morgan should participate in the run-off.Mugabe should not just be handed victory when a lot more people are tired of him.Of course the conditions of a run off will be more difficult than before, but the will of the people is going to rule.

Whatever tricks the so called JOC has and is going to employ,this is definately going to anger the electorate and the revenge is going to be in the ballot box.No amount of intimidation and or rigging will sway the vote in favour of Mugabe.People are ready and would want the run off yesterday!!!

Posted by Jotham Magozore | Report as abusive

I think Tsvangirai shouldn’t waste people’s time and just declare that he will take part he is just giving the ZanuPF aligned ZEC the opportunity to extend the dates of the election and MDC should refrain from making demands which they know Mugabe will never bow down to.
No matter how unfair the environment may seem Mugabe will never win unless he stuffs the ballot boxes and the chance for that to happen will be hard because of the clear ballot boxes and counting of ballots at the voting stations. And no matter whatever demands MDC makes there is no guarantee Bob will abide by them.
The MDC should just get in the lot and hope for the best and stop whining because their whining will not help them even a bit.

Posted by wilface | Report as abusive

I wish I shared Wilface, Magozore, Oloo and Magaka’s confidence that the results of the rerun will be a true reflection of the will of the people of Zimbabwe! I do not share that confidence.

What Wilface and company must take into consideration is the hard facts on the ground. Tsvangirai may have many people who will attend Zanu PF rallies, publicly wear T-shirt with Mugabe’s face anything to save themselves from further abuse by Mugabe thugs but when it comes to voting, will vote for Tsvangirai. But what we must also remember is that Tsvangirai will be hard pushed to find anyone who would publicly support him and stand as his election agent, especially in the rural areas.

Mugabe thugs have now extended there political targets to include teachers and other professionals. These are the people who normally supervise the whole election process.

So Tsvangirai will find that on voting day he has no election agent at many rural Polling Stations run by Mugabe hit men. They will inspect each and every ballot before it is deposited in the box – only a fool will vote for Tsvangirai then- they will stuff boxes full of Mugabe votes, they will do as they please!

The 29 March defeat was a wake-up call for Mugabe. He had a similar call following the referendum in 1999; he stepped up several gears to ensure his party victory come the 2000 parliamentary elections. This time he has gone straight into overdrive; losing the run-off is simply NOT on his agenda.

When Mugabe decided to deploy the war veterans, the green bombers a few days following the 29 March vote; he had crossed the point of no return.

For Tsvangirai to participate knowing all these hard realities is sheer folly. He should do so “under protest”, some people argue. Yah, all the past elections MDC have taken part in were all under protest; what good have the protests brought? None!

The one thing that has forced Mugabe to endure the humiliation of holding an election when he knows he is very unpopular with the electorate is the economy. The reckless policy of 2000 commercial farm invasions was a desperate move to win elections now the chickens have come home to roost! Today, he would give anything, anything at all – except, that is, the presidency- to get the Zimbabwe economy on some form of recovery path. Unless he can do that, his rerun victory will be short lived, Mugabe knows. There is a limit one can push the people, yes even patient people like Zimbabweans.

Tsvangirai should not let Mugabe off the hook easily this time by allowing himself and the electorate to be cheated.

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

If Morgan Tsvangirai won the elections outright then why is he afraid of winning again? He is well aware that his western backers will not be able to rig him into power after the failure of March 29. Please when shall people recognize that Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans! Icho!!!

Posted by Willom | Report as abusive

I think the people of Zimbabwe need the security of the international community.They need the reassurance and knowing that their wishes as individuals and as a nation are valued.As people who are intimidated it would be hard for them to make their feelings known because they will be worried about what would happen to them.I think the international community should interven before worse happens because there are enough civil wars as it is.If anything worse happens to the peolpe of Zimbabwe the international community should be the one to blame.Why isn’t anyone doing something about this appauling situation.Does the international community enjoy giving charity and sending their troops as mesiahs more than protecting people from harm?


As a Zimbabwean, I NOW know and believe fully well that Bob will do anything to stay in power. He just recently proved to us Zimbos that he can rig in broad daylight with the blessings of SADC, AU and the UN. We are very much aware that Tsvangirai won outright cos as Wilbert said earlier, no Zimbabwean in their right mind would voted for Bob.
However, Bob used all tactics possible to delay, then rig while the whole world watched and said ‘there is no crisis’.
If we go into the second round, Bob will WIN using his tricks and the world will still watch while Zimbos continue to suffer.
To us Zimbabweans it has been proved that Bob is invincible. All on earth fear him and he shall rule until he wants.
We tried in March, but alas, we are even at a worse position than we were before. Got no time nor faith in elections now, but just struggling to survive.

Posted by Trust | Report as abusive

As a Zimbabwean, I NOW know and believe fully well that Bob will do anything to stay in power. He just recently proved to us Zimbos that he can rig in broad daylight with the blessings of SADC, AU and the UN. We are very much aware that Tsvangirai won outright cos as Wilbert said earlier, no Zimbabwean in their right mind would voted for Bob.
I mean he rigged to pave way for a run-off cos the true results showed that he had been defeated.
However, Bob used all tactics possible to delay, then rig while the whole world watched and said ‘there is no crisis’.
If we go into the second round, Bob will WIN using his tricks and the world will still watch while Zimbos continue to suffer.
To us Zimbabweans it has been proved that Bob is invincible. All on earth fear him and he shall rule until he wants.
We tried in March, but alas, we are even at a worse position than we were before. Got no time nor faith in elections now, but just struggling to survive.

Posted by Trust | Report as abusive

It is important that the MDC take up the challenge – then the world will see how Mugabe and his tin-soldier generals and shameless party exploit everything again by their rule of fear.

Posted by Andrew Hope-Hall | Report as abusive

Love Zimbabwe and defend it from the vampires of the west. Tsvangirai should participate and vote for His Excellency CDE Robert Gabriel Mugabe in the run-off.

Posted by Willom | Report as abusive

People like Willom above never cease to amaze me!Who doesnt know that Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans!Willom is still surviving in the bush era(war days,no wonder why he uses the slogan “Icho”.

He wants everyone to believe that the MDC rigged its way to win the 29 March election.How could this be possible when all was controlled by ZANU up to the extend of shifting the Command Centre from the Rainbow Towers to a destination only known by Zanu, and only surfacing up to announce the tempered results 30 days later.Can Willom tell us who was doing what with these results.

Willom thinks, if ever he does, that all Zimbabweans are so stupid to see that Zanu is musing in the run off for they are going to apply the dirty tactics, which they have already done anyway,to steal away the people’s vote.

Given the conditions on the ground now,it doesnt augur well for free election, unless strictly supervised by some reputable World bodies.Surely how would the MDC go ahead and contest this election if it becomes the basis of killings of Zimbabweans by their own tyrant government.Its people like Willom who are killing other Zimbabweans and claiming Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans!!! What a shame!!

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

I agree with you, joe. The conditions for a free and fair election are not there. Why should the people be coerced into voting against RG Mugabe by having sanctions imposed on them. If Mugabe has caused so much suffering to the people of Zimbabwe then why are the western countries ‘assisting’ him to accomplish that. The west do not like us. They never liked us even a little.

If Britian and the US have the money ready to inject in to the Zimbabwean economy as soon as Mugabe is gone, why don’t they demonstrate that in Haiti. They installed the regime in Haiti. There endless food riots there. And the money is just waiting for Morgan Tsvangirayi? Wake up Brother Joe.

We read the western sponsored newspapers and watch their tv’s. They want us to believe it’s pure sufferatio we would see. Now all eyes behold, the story is told. Sufferation, starvation is part of the west’s manipulation. ICHO!!!!!

Posted by Willom | Report as abusive

Willom’s argument is utter hogwash. He speaks like those green bombers after they have been fed zanu pf propaganda and smoked so much weed – they believe the enemy of Zimbabwe is the West, when you are looking at the enemy – man in the mirror.
Willom you need psycological help. Sorry maningi!
I throw your question back at you ‘why should people be coerced into voting mugabe thru violence used by you and your fellow zanu militias??
Shame on you – and for your own info I was one of those who was in the bush in the 70s but this is NOT the Zimbabwe we fought for.
You Willom WAKE UP! And by the way what is ICHO?

Posted by Trust | Report as abusive

Willom, you dont have to confuse people.You talk about the West coercing people to vote against Mugabe! Fair and fine,and you say thats wrong, what should we then say about those of you who are going out into our rural areas to spearhead Operation Makavhotera Papi!Simply because our rural folks voted MDC.

Have you been to Mtoko, Buhera or Mazoe? Is it the West which is terrorising our parents? Are they not your own Zanu thugs? And you say its the West.

Why are you so backward Willom? Cant you see the writing on the wall!When it comes to matters of choice,the bottom line is what we want. We dont need ZANU anymore and thats what we said through the voting process. When we needed Zanu years back we did so without any force, but now we dont need them and you say its the West.Now thats why we are saying you are now creating an invironment which is difficult for us to vote you out again in a freeway. As long as its gonna be free we will vote you out without even the West!!!

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

Of course Morgan Tsvangirai is staying out of the country; of what use is a dead leader.

LIke every other dictator before including Hitler, to stay in power they need to wave a big stick at someone. When Sadaam was invading fellow arab-muslims in Kuwait, he sent scud missiles to bomb Israel. This is to justify the inhumanity of what he was doing to his own type of people. The white farm issue is just a trick to stay in power over innocent black people. If you’ve been in a country if only for 3 generations, surely you have some rights to keep some of what you have worked for.

Can any keen pro-Bob person tell me which of those stolen, sorry, confiscated white farms are now in full in even part production to produce food for Zim?

No its just dog in a manger, to impress his mad-dog supporters. How stupid to throw out a bunch of farming experts, who could all make it work. He could have a least offered them managers’ jobs.

Posted by Tony | Report as abusive

It is a great pity that MDC is still dithering on the whether or not they will take part in the presidential run-off. The question the party will have to answer is What were they waiting for? More people to be beaten and murdered? I hope they will for once give a satisfactory answer, especially to the children, wives, husbands, friends and relatives of the hundreds of thousands of current wave of political violences!

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

Tsvangirai SHOULD contest in the run-off. The bully must be tackled in his own game. We voted in the first round and we won. We have been urging all those who could not vote for whatever reasons, to ensure that they go to their constituencies and vote. Murambatsvina displaced a number of people from their constituencies and we are encouraging all those affected to ensure that they go to their constituencies and VOTE MDC.

Posted by Irene Charidza | Report as abusive

We love MDC and we are going to vote them into power. We voted ZanuPF when we needed them. Now we don’t. Tisu takavaisa naizvozvo tisu tichavabvisa. Rigging or no rigging, the nation will decide by voting ZANU PF OUT!

Posted by Mutshaneta | Report as abusive

All those who could not vote in the last round, whatever their reasons, need to be encouraged to go back to their constituencies and VOTE MDC. Murambatsvina displaced a lot of people but with a united purpose, people should go back where they are registered and VOTE the bully OUT. He needs to be tackled in his own game. We will not be intimidated. We know there will be casualties and even deaths but UNITED we STAND.

Posted by Mutshaneta | Report as abusive

Disappointment is like a headache, you never ever get used to it.

I guessed that Tsvangirai will at the end of the day take part in the presidential run-off. After weeks of dithering and agonising he has now confirmed that he will. i am disappointed because there is nothing to be gained and everything to lose from him taking part.

A Tsvangirai boycott now would give Mugabe the presidency in a silver platter, yes; but with the cursed sword hanging over his head. The whole world saw Mugabe’s frantic political machinations as the worst kind of election fraud, nothing else. Deny Mugabe the run-off and you deny him the chance to wash off the blood of the innocent lives his thugs have murdered in the last five weeks. Worse still, as a fraudulent president Mugabe will not get a penny in international help to rebuild the Zimbabwe economy.

The Zimbabwe economic melt down is the one issue Mugabe can not ignore for a single day. The economic reality of empty shop shelves, water and electricity cuts which last weeks on end, a 200 000% inflation rate, collapsed education and health service, etc. affect everyone including the hoards of thugs he deployed to terrorise and murder. If the melt down continues, and with him in office, it will get even worse; even his thugs will turn on him like hyenas!

Forget the nonsense about Tsvangirai “betraying” the people of Zimbabwe if he did not take part in the run-off. He betrayed the people when they delivered to him election victory on 29 March 2008 and he foolishly allowed Mugabe to snatch it away from him. And then was nowhere to be seen when Mugabe’s thugs went on a murderous rampage!

Tsvangirai is taking part in the run-off because he has nothing to lose and everything to gain, whatever the outcome! He is counting on the economic hardship to force the Zimbabwe to risk their lives and all, forget his betrayal, etc. and deliver “final knock-out” he is seeking. Tsvangirai will fighting with goose feather padded gloves; whilst Mugabe will be sporting spiked knuckle gloves and wearing one of those medieval metal armour – it is hard to do a double shuffle in one of those for someone fit and near impossible for a frail despot like Mugabe. Mugabe’s corner’s worry is whether their man will saty on his feet, especial if his savage swing should miss the target!

The result of the run-off is only to determine what roll Mugabe/Tsvangirai will have but one thing is a given- there will be government of national unity. Mugabe would want it as a sop to the international community in return for the much needed economic assistance. Tsvangirai will want it as a sop to Mugabe to call off the marauding thugs. Which ever route we take the end result will be the same- a Mugabe regime in all but name!

As far as Tsvangirai and his fellow MDC leaders are concerned they will now be entitled to the same pecks and privileges that to date have been the exclusive preserve of Mugabe and his cronies only. By taking part in the run-off Tsvangirai is facilitating the formation of the unity government. If he boycotted the run-off it would be impossible for MDC to ever cooperate with Zanu PF.

When Mugabe fails to hold free and fair elections it is not just Tsvangirai and MDC who are being cheated, the whole nation too is cheated.

What the people of Zimbabwe are dying for, physically and literally, is meaningful change. Change that will deliver the freedom and human rights and dignity denied them by this Mugabe dictatorship and by the white settler regime before him.

The government of national unity will, at best, bring about some economic recovery, nothing much. Mugabe’s cronies will not give up any of the commercial farmers they seized, for example – seized ostensibly to resettle the landless peasants but now we know better. Restoring the country’s agricultural production is the key to Zimbabwe’s economic recovery plan.

A white-washed dictatorship will never drag Zimbabwe out of the economic and political abyss Mugabe’s 28 years of dictatorial rule has landed this nation into!

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive


You can judge the character of a man by how the individual values the sufferings and lives of others. You have the heartless brute like Mugabe who simply does not give a damn at one end. On the other end, the saintly Martin Luther King who would go out of their way to share in the suffering of others and if necessary put their own live on the line to protect the lives of others.

Tsvangirai has FAILED to demonstrate that he cares about the suffering and lives of others on many occasions, the current political crisis being one occasion. He was pursued selfish political interest instead.

Tsvangirai and a few key MDC leaders have been out of the country for the last five weeks because “their feared for their lives”, so we are told. Did Tsvangirai and the rest feared for the lives of all those who had risked their lives on 29 March 2008 by voting for him and MDC? It is not the first time that Zanu PF thugs have turned on opposition supporter so he should have anticipated their deployment a few days after the March vote. Even if Tsvangirai had failed to anticipate the violence; he still has to answer “What did you do when the violence broke out?” Sadly he has done nothing.

He said he would return to Zimbabwe to contest the presidential run-off. He was prepared to risk his life and lives of those close to him for a chance to be elected president but would not lift a finger to save the lives or the millions of ordinary Zimbabweans whose lives have been turned completely up side down by Zanu PF thugs!

Of course by saying he will contest, Tsvangirai will be asking the Zimbabwe electorate to defy what Mugabe thugs have been coercing them to do. That is a red-rag to a bull and not just any bull but a ruthless and brutal one with the means and ways to show to delivery the punishment!

Zimbabwe has already seen what a heartless brute Mugabe is; over 20 000 innocent lives were lost during the mid 1980s alone. Do we really want another Matabeleland type massacre again!

When Mugabe deployed the war veterans, the green bombers, etc. he was clearly upping the stakes. Experience shows that he was not bluffing, he will beat, burn, terrorise, murder- do whatever it will take to ensure an elections victory. Even if an MDC victory was assured; still it is foolish to gamble with other people’s lives- particularly when these people are totally defenceless and helpless!

Many of us should fell some how responsible for having argued people to “go and vote MDC” before the 29 March 2008 vote. It would be totally irresponsible to do so now.

Yes the need to end the Mugabe dictatorship is even more urgent now than it was before 29 March. Still, there MUST be other ways of ending the dictatorship than throwing human lives like meat to a hungry lion. Lets face it, there is no other end and purpose to the suffering and deaths sweeping Zimbabwe today other than Mugabe’s thugs will get sick and tired of the it all and walk away.

Tsvangirai can also call for a mass-stay away. It has never worked in the past because it was badly organised. This time the nation is dying, physically and literally, for a political response to Mugabe’s campaign of violence. A mass-stay away will force Mugabe to focus his attention on something else other than picking off innocent voters one by one in the dead of night.

Tsvangirai, for good or bad, finds himself in a leadership position at this critical point in Zimbabwe’s history. He should grab the nettle and get on with it.

It Tsvangirai had shown some leadership qualities in the first three days after 29 March 2008 when Mugabe was still in a state of shock of the election defeat all this could have been avoided. The presidency was within his grasp and Tsvangirai, unfortunately let Mugabe snatch it away. So having give it away, why does he not do so now by refusing to take part in the run-off and, this time, save Zimbabwean lives?

MDC have made heavy weather of its parliamentary majority following the March election. The political reality in Zimbabwe is that all political power is in the hands of one man- Mugabe. However for all his political power, canning, rhetoric, brutality, etc. one thing has eluded Mugabe- the economy. In fact it was his ruthless desire for absolute power that made him chose blind loyalty to him over competency and merit. He did achieve his ambition of long years in power but at the price of having the most incompetent and corrupt regime in the world presiding over the worst performing economy in the world!

No doubt Mugabe will “win” the presidential run-off and will have to turn his attention immediately to the economy. Zimbabwe’s battered economy will need international help, particularly the West, to get it back on some form of recovery path. Mugabe will have to get Tsvangirai and MDC into some form of unity government to stand a chance of getting the West to step in.

Even if the unthinkable was to happen- a Tsvangirai win, he too will need to appease Mugabe or the thugs will step up their acts of violence. So either way, the government of national unity is on the cards for Zimbabwe. And it will be one in Mugabe’s own image.

In 1989 when Zanu PFand PF Zapu signed their unity accord, after the lose over 20 000 innocent live and all the other human suffering and material damages, what did the nation get in return? Well nothing really; we ended up with the same incompetent, corrupt and repressive Mugabe regime. Yes of course; Joshua Nkomo and his fellow PF Zapu leadership finally had a seat at the nation’s high table and joined in the looting of the people! Alas! It seems that is all we will get again this time!

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

Today May 18 2008; there are more chilling tales of political beatings and murders in every story on Zimbabwe. It is all very well MDC talking of “burying”, literally of course, Mugabe on 27 June but before that the Zimbabweans must physically bury a lot of their loved one- victims of political violence. These are human beings like you and me with loved ones who share in their pain and feel their loss.

I am as keen as many other Zimbabweans out there to see the back of Robert Mugabe. It is right that it should be done through the ballot and not the bullet; I have never lost my faith in the democratic process and never in my life encourage voter apathy. But when the price of exercising one’s democratic right to vote is human lives, as Mugabe has now done, then situation demands a review.

The best possible outcome of the run-off is that Tsvangirai has a convincing victory over Mugabe. Afterwards the victorious Tsvangirai moves swiftly to dismantle the Mugabe dictatorship by bring all those responsible for serious human rights violation to book and recover what the regime has looted and thus end the mismanagement and corruption. And in its place create a democratic system in which all Zimbabwean are valued and accorded the full rights and freedom. Then the human misery and sacrifice sweeping the country would excusable. Even then, concrete steps must be taken to protect the most helpless in society against the Mugabe onslaught rather than the current MDC position of literary abandoning them.

A Tsvangirai victory which will result in a government of national unity which effectively mean retaining the Zanu PF dictatorship and protecting those responsible for past wrongs and that they get to keep their loot would be a sell out.

A Mugabe victory, which is the most probable out come given the near impossible situation Tsvangirai now finds himself in, and the political and economic consequences of that with made it down right immoral that human lives, 32 so far have been murdered, were gabled like pawns in a game of chess.

Mugabe upped the stakes in the run-off by putting the security and lives of Zimbabweans at risk. He is a ruthless dictator who cares little about the suffering and deaths of anyone; we all know that. He had over 20 000 people murdered in the mid 1980s. Zimbabwe must be spared further blood shed.

What makes the whole run-off even less tolerable is that by taking part Tsvangirai is giving the dictatorship some degree of acceptability. The five weeks of machination by Mugabe following the 29 March, 2008 Election has left Mugabe with not a shred of democratic credential.

Last but not least, there are other ways of ending the Mugabe dictatorship without sacrificing so many innocent lives. Tsvangirai should explore these first and not go for the soft option. Tsvangirai like Mugabe is showing how little he values human life- that is a very, very worry thing indeed!

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

There is no doubt that there should be a run off.

This it what Mugabe is doing at the moment.

Please do not go this site unless you have a very strong stomach ! right/2008/05/photographs-of.html?cid=11 4882196#comment-114882196

Posted by Roger K | Report as abusive

Stop beating up Tsvangirai. He’s the only straw you guys have to clutch at. He knows that a dead leader is no leader at all. If he dies, you may as well give up. You need to think like chess players, look at the next moves not just the knee-jerk.
Tsvangirai stays away or comes back for the run-off, along with his team. He doesn’t participate or he wins, or he loses due to rigging. Assassins bullets or a firing squad for ‘treason’. Mugabe’s last act in power; help us China, we are under attack from Western Imperialism (after the Olympics of course).Chinese send in more arms and advisers parachute in. Politburo axes Mugabe and breathes a sigh of relief. Goodbye democracy first in Zim then all Southern Africa, communist satellites. Puppet rulers allowed to rule.

You need to talk to all the young guys in the security services, win them over, aiming for a bloodless counter-coup, not civil war. You might consider going to church and praying like they did in South Africa

Posted by Tony | Report as abusive

morgan is a puppet of emperialist….lets support mugabe because apart from fighting for independence of zimbwabwe…he has proved that he is a true son of africa not by taken back the farms from whites but for standing strongly against the west.mugabe is a hero and no matter how and to what extent the people of zimbabwe suffers,,he remains to be a hero.the west also suffered this sort of zimbwabwe problems whn they were coming up…we also must build our history and let no whiteman control us like they control…saudi arabia,japan,iraq,,israel and palestine, tanzania and other nations.

Posted by mgallah | Report as abusive

Building of history is not an easy thing…history and development goes side by side because to my side development is build by history to a large extent..Mugabe is doing the right thing and i am sure that the west especiall uk and usa makes propaganda about zimbabwe situation because they want to put morgan-their man-into power.let we die of hunger today but be sure of building a better future for the generations to come.mugabe is trying to resist neo-colonialism because if he accepts to step down in substitute of morgan then it will be like accepting the coming back of imperialists. this is our continent and we have a right to do whatever we like without interference from the west. they should not tell us who is a good leader and who is a bad leader, that is up to us…let support mugabe

Posted by mgallah | Report as abusive

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