Mugabe holds all the cards


Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leader Robert Mugabe holds all the cards. He is looking good to win the coming elections. And if he does have to cheat, he doesn’t have to cheat by all that much.

This is hardly any revelation. We are talking about Zimbabwe, and one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, so says an online South African daily, the Daily Maverick.

The Maverick says this is meant to be Tsvangirai’s turn. “He has patiently suffered through the government of national unity, waiting for his opportunity to right the electoral injustice that was the 2008 poll…..all factors meant to play into his hands, given that by now, surely, enough Zimbabweans have had enough of Mugabe.”

But “once again, somehow, Mugabe holds all the cards. There’s a reason why he’s lasted in power so long – and why he’s still got a little while to go”.

“What we should really be worried about is that, even if they are as flawed as Tsvangirai thinks they will be, the elections might still pass the regional test of fairness and transparency, making Mugabe a democratically-elected president once again.

“For this possibility, SADC has only itself to blame. Rewind to December 2011, to the just-concluded elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This was far from a model vote. A range of international observers were watching, and uncovered a long list of offences:

  • evidence of vote tampering;
  • impossibly high rates of voter turnout in places known to be loyal to the president;
  • strangely low turnouts in opposition areas;
  • the mysterious disappearance of 2 000 polling station results in Kinshasa; and
  • violence in the run-up during the campaign which killed 18 people, mostly committed by incumbent Joseph Kabila’s presidential guard.

“And yet, SADC, along with the African Union and three other African observer missions, declared that the elections were “successful”, duly confirming that the organisation’s standards of fairness and transparency are very low indeed; and sending a message to other leaders, like Robert Mugabe, that there’s a fair amount of electoral mischief that they can get away with before the regional body will call them out on it.

“And if Mugabe is called out, he’s well within his rights to label point out SADC’s hypocrisy – and ignore their verdict.”


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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