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Has Tsvangirai made a fatal mistake?

June 24, 2008

rtx789k.jpgMorgan Tsvangirai’s decision to pull out of the presidential election on Friday leaves the road open for President Mugabe to win another term in power.

The decision has been met by a storm of international condemnation of the violence, with increasingly powerful voices speaking out from Africa. On Tuesday President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and ANC leader Jacob Zuma joined the condemnation and called for the vote to be postponed.

But there is no sign that Mugabe and his supporters, including the powerful security chiefs, will budge. They are vowing to press ahead with the election despite suggestions Mugabe will have no legitimacy if he wins this vote.

Perhaps Tsvangirai had little choice. President Wade said he fled to the Dutch embassy on Sunday — where he is still seeking refuge — minutes before soldiers came to his home. Western powers have defended his decision.

But at the end of the day, will international pressure make any difference?. Mugabe has a long history of defying outside pressure, even though now his support within Africa is diminishing. Can he continue to ignore the pressure and battle on in Zimbabwe as the economy spirals even further into total chaos?

Did Tsvangirai misjudge his move? Has he let down all those who have suffered to support the MDC, some at the price of their lives? Or has he made a calculation that by pulling out of the vote he will show that Friday’s election is a sham and he will win in the end? What do you think?


The Pan-African parliament observer team have said the presidential run-off election was not free and fair and therefore there should be a rerun. Mugabe has been in power for 28 years and has yet to hold free and fair elections. The level of violence, intimidation, etc used against his political opponents and critics have got progressively worse with each successive elections. In the past African election observer teams have down played Mugabe’s excesses and reported of the elections as being “largely” free and fair. Not so this time.

The AU has craved the image that the continent is perfectly capable of running its own affairs. Africa is the poorest continent in the world and yet it is also one of the riches in terms of natural resources and economic potential. It used to be the norm to blade white colonial oppression and exploitation for this disparity but with many countries in their third or fourth decade after independence that excuse is frankly wearing very thin. The truth in far is that most countries were economically better off before independence than they are now.

Africa’s problem is one of bad governance; corrupt and undemocratic leaders who once in office have plundered their nation’s wealth and would cheat, rig and, yes, even kill to remain in power. African leaders have grudgingly accepted this but, typically, have resisted outside pressure for reforms claiming they will deal with this themselves. They elected to use peer pressure; African leaders leaning on a fellow African leader who falls out of line. So the AU came up with its guidelines on the conduct of elections, for example, and routinely sends its own Pan African parliament observer team to monitor elections.

The Pan-African parliament observer team have now reported its finds and made its recommendation. The challenge now is to see whether or not the AU will act. The AU has repeatedly failed to act, but this time is own team of observers condemn the election, a very, very rare act of honesty and common sense by any AU organ. So will the African Leaders at the AU summit refuse to welcome Mugabe in their midst or will there be the usual blast of hot air blowing in Sharm el- Sheikh, Egypt!

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

Im a Zimbabwean who is totally behind the Land Reform Programme. But the problem comes when we start talking about the sanctions.
Tsvangirai did right by withdrawing from the 27June run off elections. otherwise he saved the lives of many who had fallen victims of the political violence in the country.
However, Zimbabwe felt the embarassment of being led by a mentally retarded President who contested in the elections alone, declared himself the President and quickly rushed to the AU summit in Egypt.
He is such a shame, stubborn and a disgrace to the Zimbabwean citizens who trusted him most.
However, there is much need for Mr Tsvangirai to politically mature because he has political deficiency and we cant be led by such a leader. We need a well vexed leader like the 1980-97Mugabe who no longer exists.
Mugabe is old and now he thinks like a baby…please may someone rescue Zimbabwe from this mess.
Cant remember the last time i ate a decent meal because of this aged baby.

Posted by Mamoza | Report as abusive

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