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Has Zimbabwe’s Mugabe been bolstered or weakened by Tsvangirai’s decision to abandon poll?

June 22, 2008

Morgan TsvangiraiOpposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s decision to abandon a controversial run-off ballot against Zimbabwe’s strongman President Robert Mugabe would surprise few. Western governments and aid agencies have for weeks voiced the same accusations of violence and intimidation against the Mugabe camp which Tsvangirai cited in concluding that a run-off election stood no chance of being free or fair.

Hours before Tsvangirai’s decision, his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) reported that its rally in the capital Harare had been broken up by pro-Mugabe youth militia, something Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party denied.

Tsvangirai had appeared to be in a dominant position to win a run-off poll after defeating Mugabe in the first round — but only if the vote was going to be fair. Agreeing to participate in the run-off was indeed a gamble the opposition leader took in the face of contrary arguments by even some of his supporters who felt it was naive to expect a fair vote in a terrain dominated by Mugabe and his associates.

zimbabwe_mugabe_campaign.jpgWhat happens now after Tsvangirai’s decision to pull out of the June 27 second round ballot? How will African governments and the international community react? What should they do? What options are left for Tsvangirai and his MDC? Could there still be negotiations, and if so should these still be brokered by South African President Thabo Mbeki? What does all this mean for the people of Zimbabwe? Will this reinforce Mugabe’s position in power or hasten his demise? Have your say.


Your rhetoric sounded so familiar to me. Then it finally came to me. They are almost exactly the same as I heard from the Afrikaner pro-apartheid groups.

I hope that this also means that the ZANU government is facing the same plight as befell the Apartheid government.

We called them rockspiders, because they refused to came from under the rock, to really see the world.

Vincent, come out from under that rock, Look! See!

Posted by Ron | Report as abusive


I am replying because you have twisted what I said to suit your one track minded position. You are a single-track-minded person and you can call that name calling, I am only stating a fact.

If a bank refuses you credit because you do not meet their requirements, would you call it sanctions? Of course not, so why are you doing so here? I agree there are countries whose debt repayment record as bad as that of Zimbabwe and yet they have continued to borrow from WB, etc. There are many reasons for that but here I will give two: 1) the countries’ leaders have not been spending as frivolously as you-know-who 2) the leaders have not been shooting their big mouth and biting the hand that feed them as you-know-who has been doing.

Ian Smith had far reaching UN approved economic sanctions and I bet Rhodesia’s inflation rate never reached 30% at worst. You-know-who had targeted sanctions, aimed at 500 or so individuals out of 11 million, imposed by less than 25% of countries in the world and Zimbabwe’s inflation has soared to 165 000%. Well only a single-track-minded person would attribute that to the targeted sanctions, I say it is mismanagement and corruption.

Tsvangirai or whoever becomes President of Zimbabwe, after you .. is booted out, will have the wellbeing of ALL Zimbabweans to worry about given the sorry state of the Zimbabwe economic, the political chaos, etc. All caused by you- …, of course!

What “legitimate demands” of Police, war veterans, etc are you on about? They will all have to face the same hardships as everybody else. Of course there will be a full and through investigation into the serious human rights abuses of the dictatorship. If anyone in found guilty, and it is widely believed the Police, war veterans, etc were actively involved, then they will be treated like the criminals they are!

As for the land; the seized white owned farms were redistributed to landless peasants- a peasant owning a whole hundred acre plus farm?! All fraudulently acquired farm(s) must be taken away. The key to Zimbabwe’s economic recovery is getting the country’s agricultural production back to its bread-basket-of-the-region level as soon as possible. If the new regime was to allow the very people whose greed was the root cause of Zimbabwe’s problem keep their loot then it would be a serious betrayal of the people.

The campaign of intimidation and murder that has swept Zimbabwe was not just to keep you… in power; it was about fighting for and to keep one’s position on the feeding trough, about defending the amassed loot and about maintaining the shroud of secrecy hiding the dictatorship’s abuses and excesses.

Everything comes to an end and, thank God, the days of you … are numbered. All those who have had it so good till now will now face the economic reality of queuing for a few litres of petrol, of weeks on end without water, etc. You… and his senior cronies will certainly face criminal charges. Who is having nightmares now!

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive


Stop being in denial. There are sanctions on Zimbabwe.

If I am single-track-minded, you are even worse because you keep repeating the same lies over and over, even when confronted with the facts.

Obviously, you refuse to recognize the sanctions because you are not one of the millions who are unable to make ends meet because of the sanctions. Your cheeks are obviously as rosy as those of Mugabe, Tsvangirai, ZANU, and MDC members because Mugabe and ZANU have control of the economy while you and Tsvangirai paid handsomely from your puppet-masters in London and Washington. So, you do not appreciate the existence of economic sanctions.

YOU SAID: **If a bank refuses you credit because you do not meet their requirements, would you call it sanctions? Of course not, so why are you doing so here?**

Well, the situation in Zimbabwe is different. What we have is like a powerful mafia that forces ALL BANKS to refuse loans to you and asks them to recall their loans ahead of schedule. As I said, even African and Asian banks plus international financial institutions (of which Zimbabwe is a member are prevented from lending to Zimbabwe).

That is what economic sanctions are about. It is about taking economic actions to undermine your economy.

You refuse to get this into your head: US congressmen specifically said in ZIDERA that they blocked Zimbabwe’s access to international financial institutions “until the president of the USA is satisfied that democratic reforms have been implemented.” The congressmen did not say they did it because Zimbabwe owes debts. That is a product of your imagination.

YOU SAID: **I agree there are countries whose debt repayment record as bad as that of Zimbabwe and yet they have continued to borrow from WB, etc. There are many reasons for that but here I will give two: 1) the countries’ leaders have not been spending as frivolously as you-know-who 2) the leaders have not been shooting their big mouth and biting the hand that feed them as you-know-who has been doing.**

Your denials are unconvincing. Zimbabwe owed about $87 million, some owe BILLIONS and you say they are not spending frivolously? So, millions of Zimbabweans deserve to have their livelihoods destroyed by a deliberate squeeze simply because one man “spent frivolously?” I bet if you were one of those suffering millions, you would be signing a different tune.

Your argument gets even more ridiculous. So some powerful countries have the right to undermine a country’s economy because Mugabe was “shooting their big mouth and biting the hand that feed them…” Just like these same countries have murdered 1 million in Iraq because Saddam Hussein was “shooting his big mouth?” Who is suffering here? Mugabe or millions of black Africans?

Again, there is no hand feeding anyone. These are INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS and not British or American banks, so nobody was feeding anyone.

Let me explain to you once again: imagine if you earn your living as a market trader and some local mafia blocks you from entering the market to buy and sell simply because you were “shooting your big mouth” at him, thus preventing you from feeding your family… That is the type of ridiculous argument you are making.

There are no justifications from blocking a country’s access to the international financial markets and institutions. They do not belong to Britain or the USA, they just happen to be powerful countries.

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

Well “someone” has just said:

“There are no justifications from blocking a country’s access to the international financial markets and institutions. They do not belong to Britain or the USA, they just happen to be powerful countries.”

Well actually there are justifications and here are but a few that relate to our beloved Zimbabwe:

International intervention is justified when a ruling political party abuses its own citizens by:

1. Denying people the right to freedom of assembly.
2. Denying people the right to print or broadcast their political perspectives.
3. To vote for the candidate of their choice without fear or intimidation or threat of war.
4. To spend public money without transparency or public accountability.
5. To subvert public institutions including the institutions of public safety and security for the sole purpose of maintianing political and ideological control by one party.
6. To repeadedly deny people due process of law under an independent judiciary.
7. To ignore the rule of law unless it serves to maintain the political advantage of the ruling party.
8. To deny the most vulnerable members of society equal access to basic services and food regardless of their political affiliation.
9. To beat, torture, maime and kill innocent civilians.
10. To rig elections that don’t go your way.

In such circumstances it is justifiable for political parties and citizens to seek the support of international institutions and countries that will support their cause in achieving basic human rights and freedoms even if that means “regime change”.

The people of Zimbabwe have voted for regime change and they have been denied this. The current ruling elite have been given ample oportunity in the last eight years for “resolving” the crisis. So like the Smith regime before them each time their options get worse but they are only delaying the inevitable. Zvakana.

Posted by Tashinga | Report as abusive


But the question is this: who is suffering as a result of these sanctions?

My problem with the sanctions is not whether Mugabe is good or bad. My problem with them is that the people suffering as a result are not Mugabe or Tsvangirai or the wealthy white farmers. The people suffering are millions of poor, ordinary Zimbabweans (black and white).

People cannot feed their families, but Mugabe and Tsvangirai are doing very weel, than you.

Another problem I have is that the USA and Britain are doing this not because they love democracy so much but because they are trying to protect their own strategic interests (while they are creaming about Zimbabwe, they were the first to recognize the stolen elections in Kenya, they are backing worse dictators in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Equatirial Guinea).

What we have here is that millions of poor Zimbabweans are meerely pawns in a game involving Mugabe, Tsvangirai, Britain, the USA, and wealthy white farmers.

That is very sad.

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

To all my fellow Zimbabweans and all those who have stood by us; if there was a time for us to seriously think what we want in Zimbabwe, that time is now. Can I appeal to those responsible for this blog to help in this by setting up a specific blog topic: “WHAT DO ORDINARY ZIMBABWEANS WANT AND DESERVE NOW?” or something similar.

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

I give up !!!!

Long live the King – Mug abe, long live Vincent the queen.

Suffer the children of Zimbabwe.

Posted by buffalojump | Report as abusive


Long live Buffalojump, the white farmer

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

But Vincent have u seen how Mugabe reacts in Public now,,,shame he has lost dignity. I think Tsv gave him a fatal blow…

Posted by Noe | Report as abusive


I don’t care about Mugabe or Tsvangirai.

All I want is for the cruel economic sanctions to be lifted, for Britain to fulfill its obligations regarding land redistribution (instead of attempting to starve the people into maintaining the colonial status quo), and for Zimbabweans to be allowed to determine their own fate.

Mugabe will die soon (he is 84) and Tsvangirai will not live forever, but the land issue must be resolved FAIRLY once and for all.

There is no place for colonialism or apartheid (political or economic) in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa.

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

Once again when it comes to some of the above excremental posts (posted whenever Mugabe is mentioned), it makes me wonder if I have wandered into the Twilight Zone – like people have a grip on reality? Some hope!

An election IS NOT an election if there is only ONE candidate. That is an essential fact that only a psychotic, spiteful and violent being like Mugabe would ignore. He must be incredibly stupid!

How anyone can try to justify or even trabsfer the blame for what is a litany of violence carried out on Mugabe’s orders by his monstrous thugs, only the creator knows.

The level of torture, maming and murder has shocked and disgusted us all and yet still Mugabe’s supporters peddle their poisonous lies, recriminations and ridiculous misinformation.

The facts speak for themselves and I can assure his supporters that if they are in any way connected to the violence and abuses, they themselves will eventually stand trial and will be charged with ‘crimes against humanity’.

They will be brought to book, and Mugabe will be going to hell in a basket!

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

Mugabe’s rise to power was by confiscating white lands, and now Zimbabwe’s despot murders the oposition, and leads the desent into poverty.

The west always stands by and talks. Send in various unidentified fighter bombers, take out the infamous 5th Brigade, level Mugabes Command and Control communications, and this same Army, will desolve Mugabe’s leadership role. The Zimbabwe Army will do the rest with African international help. They will remove Mugabe, silence the ZANU-PF, take the militants off the streets. The Army needs only to remember that elections must take place freely with-in 6 months.

The ZANU-PF may lead today, tomorrow they maybe the ones dying for retributions sake.

Posted by Mike Gutierrez | Report as abusive


I have tried after your previous posting to avoid a direct debate with you but you have posed a question directly to me so I reply:

Your point is really a moral Catch 22. Such issues are as in this case very complex and what is known as a “wicked problem” and dependent on your perspective. The moral dilema here is that without the denial of access to international funding mechanisms would rural poor in Zimbabwe be better off?

A famous quote of Ian Smith was “in Rhodesia we have the happiest Africans in the world.” Economically the “Africans” in Rhodesia did have access to food and health services in a stable economic environment (i remember when a coke cost 5 cents and we had a 2.5 cent piece – the “ticky”). But this was only in a system based on racial oppression that denied fundamental political rights to blacks (Rhodesia Front paranoia) … it was untennable locally and internationally. A liberation war was launched and international sanctions applied to the minority regime. Who suffered? Was the suffering justified? Do the means justify the end?

In Zimbabwe Mugabe has justified his political oppression on the arguments of land and an attempt by Britain to re-colonise Zimbabwe. One thing that is often overlooked in the discussion of this issue is the land reform programme that operated from 1979 to 2000. As an employee of the Zimbabwe Government from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s and working on issues of rural development – I can tell you that we had a land reform programme and farms were being purchased for resettlement. It was more than willing buyer willing seller since every farm that was put up for sale first had to be offered to Government. Often we did not want those farms and issued certificates of non-interest. What happened after 2000 was not land reform. It was chaos! Orchestrated chaos driven by paranoia (ZANU PF paranoia)and a desire to maintain political control. The primary objective of the liberation struggle to achieve political freedom was sacrificed by the same leader that had brought so much hope in 1980. Who suffers?

The land taken after 2000 has for the most part not benefitted “landless blacks” but has been the subject of elite capture. There is a new land holding minority in Zimbabwe only this time they are black and they are almost exclusively Zanu Pf. Who suffers?

At independence we were extremely self sufficient with little dependence on international finacing instruments. It was Mugabe who “supped from the cup” of international finance and it was a poison that he was to suffer from later. I believe that Mugabe thought he could replace “disloyal” white farmers with “loyal” Zanu Pf cadres and achieve the same independence and productive output – he was wrong – Who suffers?

International finance is highly problematic at the best of times but I do not accept that it is part of some Machiavellian plot to re-colonise Zimbabwe. I had my problems with donors when working for Government but to be honest they were not trying to take over Zimbabwe as Zanu Pf would have us believe.

No Vincent I believe that the keys to international finance are in the hands of Zanu Pf BUT the price they would have to pay – losing political control through truly open and free elections – is a price they are not prepared to pay yet. So who suffers?

Posted by Tashinga | Report as abusive

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