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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.
Opposition 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.
Only a few months ago, it seemed all doom and gloom for the Kenyan economy as post-election violence threatened to wipe out gains and stymy growth.
Tourists were cancelling safari and beach holidays in their droves. Gangs were rampaging around the agricultural heartlands. And few would dare to journey on roads full of boulders, burning tyres and knife-wielding youths.
Yet even back then, some analysts argued that East Africa’s strongest economy should be able to withstand the electoral crisis, provided it was brought to a rapid halt.
And stop it did, after President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga buried their differences over who won the Dec. 27 vote in a coalition government formed in April.
Now foreign and local investors have given a resounding thumbs-up to Kenya’s economy via the largest InItial Public Offering in the region’s history. The offer for mobile operator Safaricom was over-subscribed by 532 percent, shares leapt 50 percent in the first hours of trading and 860,000 people bought shares via the IPO.
So is Safaricom indicative of Kenya’s recovery, or is there still a long way to go?
Have investors got over the shock they received earlier this year?
How does Kenya compare to other sub-Saharan African nations — neighbours Uganda and Tanzania; or heavyweights South Africa and Nigeria — as an investment destination? Which are the sectors to put money in?
And can the shaky coalition hold?
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai detained twice in a week, U.S. and British diplomats forced from their cars by police, rallies banned, aid workers stopped from working, reports of violence from across the countryside. The campaign for Zimbabwe’s presidential election run-off on June 27 is being hard fought, literally.
The opposition accuses President Robert Mugabe of responsibility for violence and says 65 people have been killed. The ruling party blames Tsvangirai’s followers and says Mugabe’s Western foes and some aid agencies have been campaigning for the opposition.
The news from Somalia seems to be relentlessly negative, writes Reuters Somalia correspondent Guled Mohamed. So it has been for the best part of 17 years since warlords overran the country in 1991 to usher in the modern period of chaos in this part of the Horn of Africa.
South African police say at least 13 people died over the weekend of May 17 as a wave of xenophobic violence spread to more townships. Local media put the total death toll at around 20 since the violence broke out, fuelled by widespread poverty and social problems more than decade after the end of apartheid. The bloodshed has included the “necklacing” of at least one man who was burnt to death and it has echoes of the brutal violence at the end of apartheid.
The immigrants, including millions who have fled from Zimbabwe, are accused of taking jobs and being responsible for the high rate of violent crime. They say they are more likely to be victims than perpetrators. The outbreak of violence is another blow to the policies of President Thabo Mbeki, accused both of spreading the fruits of black rule too slowly to his poor supporters and of failing to broker an end to Zimbabwe’s crisis. It is an embarrassment for a country that was once known as one of the most welcoming to immigrants and asylum seekers. Many members of the current African National Congress (ANC) leadership took refuge abroad during the anti-apartheid struggle. Is the rainbow nation losing its unique status as a beacon of liberal attitudes in Africa? Have the South African poor lost patience with Mbeki’s government? What do you think?