Should Tsvangirai abandon poll?

June 20, 2008

rtx74fw.jpgIt’s decision time again for Morgan Tsvangirai. 

With violence spreading and African countries joining the ranks of those who say Zimbabwe’s election run-off cannot be fair, the opposition leader is considering whether to withdraw – which would leave President Robert Mugabe to continue his 28 year rule unchallenged.

Talk is still doing the rounds that South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki has been trying to get the sides to call off the election and form a national unity government, but progress seems limited at best. South Africa’s Star newspaper said Mugabe rejected the proposal.

“It would be very difficult because neither side would want to be the junior partner,” commented Knox Chitiyo, head of the Africa programme at the Royal United Services Institute in London, to Reuters.

So what would Tsvangirai gain if he pulled out of the election? His Movement for Democratic Change has been claiming moral victories for years, but Mugabe is still firmly in State House. If Tsvangirai withdrew now, would it encourage the region and the world to take stronger action? Could they do anything anyway? If he took part and lost would that make his position even worse?

What do you think?

15 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I think we have to complete the race even though we know we won’t be awarded our medals,sad but true Mugabe will be holding on to this medals till guilty Consciousness leads him to the grave.The blood of all those he killed ranging from Nkomo’s party pple to tsvangirai’s will speak to him

Posted by Noe | Report as abusive

There is no time to stop now for Tswangarai he needs to finish this job for all those children,mothers and men who are murdered everyday for supporting freedom these are the heros of this election and now Tswangarai needs to remain standing, we are not crying but the bad guy is “Mugabe” and he will lose because he is a loser he has never won any elections in his life time. Mugabe has been playing some stupid mind games talking about British soil and Zimbabwe soil, and not giving up power until he hands over the land to the blacks all this b-s rubbish and at the same time accussing MDC for violence across the country. TSWANGARAI KEEP STANDING VERY TALL THOSE HEROS ARE BEHIND YOU SO IS THE REST OF THE WORLD WE PRAY

I’m not Zimbwabean but from my experience, we as Africans need to build a new culture. A culture that empowers the people by erasing the pseudo-deist attitude they have towards their leaders. When you talk to the hoi-polloi on the streets all you hear is “THE MAN said, …” forget that that man has two legs and two eyes just like you and me! What else could possibly explain Mugabe’s continued survival? Yeah “our people our land” but when Mugabe says “our people” does he include the masses? The answer to that is very clear from looking at who benefitted from the farm-grabbing. So the people must go out and vote, not only to send Mugabe a message but to continue to build the culture of powerful non-violent self-expression! That is the only we’ll start to spend more on food than on Kalashnikovs!

Posted by Dennis Kasolo | Report as abusive

I never believed we still have the likes of Mobutu.
Why is it that african leaders never want to give up power onece they find that their ideas no more change ordinary peoples life. The incubent government in Zimbabawe should listen to the world and learn from the past. In every way, the will fail at the end and the peoples wish will prevail.

Posted by P. Olisa | Report as abusive

Tvangirai you are bigger than Mugabe who in his own words told the world that he would not sleep if he rigged the elections, you have the evidence he has not slept since then and you have got him exact where you want him do not give up now.

On the 27 June Mugabe may go to bed content that he has retained his crown. The following day he will wake up to the biggest hangover of his political life- Zimbabwe’s economic melt down- and, worse still, one that simply will not go away. It is the economy stupid- not the X on a ballot paper or a bullet – that will get the old dictator out of State House.

Mugabe is nothing but a fatally wounded animal. Tsvangirai wanted the honour of being the one who slew the dreaded beast. There is more political mileage in than in taking the scalp of a dead one. He never considered holding back even when violence and threat to human lives was a certainty after Mugabe deployed the war veterans and state agents in April. It is sad that only now, when the whole electoral process is overwhelming flawed in favour of Mugabe, Tsvangirai should be considering withdrawing.

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

As suggested above, what does Mr. Tsvangirai have to gain by dropping out? Perhaps fewer people will be injured or killed, but so many have already suffered – should that all be in vain? Besides, there were similar doubts about the outcome of the initial election in March, yet the people spoke, even if the results were twisted somewhat. I say let the election happen!

Posted by Keith Harrison | Report as abusive

Why this British/American obsession with Zimbabwe?

Africa has bigger problems than Zimbabwe, but hypocritical Westernners are pretending to care about democracy in Zimbabwe when we all know that all they care about is there economic interests.

Why not focus on ending the greedy bloodbath in Iraq (1 million killed, 4 million refugees created) before attempting another land grab in Zimbabwe?

Leave the people of Zimbabwe alone to solve their own problems.

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

Tsvangirai can not turn back now, as that will give Mugabe the presidents through the back door.

Mugabe says only ‘God’ can remove him from power and not even the elections. What if it’s God’s plan to remove him through the elections? What if it’s God’s plan for Tsvangirai to be president?

For the sake of all those who have been killed trying to free the country, Tsvangirai can not pull out of the elections now.

Tsvangirai, you cannot afford to pull out now. This may be the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. Honest, pulling out is handing victory to Mugabe without his having to fight for it.Let the elections proceed, and let us see the outcome. Do not rule out divine intervention to prevent rigging.

Posted by Fridzgal | Report as abusive

I don’t know. Mugabe’s holding all the cards, & I think this time he’ll convince/coerce enough voters to go with him. Maybe Tsvangarai should quit and live to run another day. Mugabe’s gradually losing it-but too bad its taking so long. I just don’t see how the surrounding African nations can tolerate such lies, violence and blatent indifference to the needs of the people of Zim. Are they afraid, by stepping in, they would set a precident and, thereby, be at risk of similiar action happening in their own countries?

Posted by Ed Miller | Report as abusive

Mugabe knows he will definitely lose and Tsvangirai knows it too. If Tsvangirai quits the people will suffer even more. Tsvangirai must move on and finish what he started even though Mugabe will try to use any means to rig the vote. The people have already made their minds. Tsvangirai- the president. It would be foolish for him to quit and he knows it. Let’s wait for Monday to hear what he got to say. Hope he moves on because the people really need change and he is the change they need.

Posted by Pule Nong | Report as abusive

It appears that Mr. Mugabe is going all out to revive the old opinion that African countries are incapable of effective self-government. A pity.

Posted by James Hannah | Report as abusive

Vincent, not everyone in the “hypocritical West” is for the Iraq war. As a matter of fact had you done your research you would know that more than HALF of the Westerners want this war ceased! The American election in November will show how disgusted Americans are with this needless war! And you best believe the American elections will be nothing like the farce elections of ZIMBABWE! The government of Zimbabwe has PROVEN to the WORLD they can’t be left alone to solve their own problems. Doing so will only result in more of Mugabe and his killing machine making themselves GOD and ignoring the will of the Zimbabwean people plus more deaths for those that don’t join his narcissistic regime!

Posted by Angela | Report as abusive

I am a zimbabwean living in South Africa. I fled Zim during Mugabe’s regime and I cant wait to go back to my country with my family. But if Tvangirai pulls out of Friday polls my dream will never be a reality. Mugabe in an obnoxious arrogant man who has no man to please but himself. The future of Zim is doomed so far as the man is not stripped of power.