On Saturday, the people of Zimbabwe went to the polls to elect a Parliament and President. And today, three days later, they're still waiting for results.
In previous elections, these have generally been available within a few hours of the polls closing. This time, it has taken days. The reason? With local, Parliamentary, and Presidential elections all happening at once, Robert Mugabe's thugs can't just make up the results like they have in the past; it would look suspicious (to say the least) if the opposition won a landslide in Parliament and the local bodies, but this wasn't reflected in the Presidential result. So they have to work at it, inflating the vote count here, disappearing votes there, to produce a consistent set of lies. Trickling the Parliamentary results out is a part of this strategy, to create a false impression of a close race.
How do we know its a false impression? Because this time round, polling places have been posting local results. Zimbabwean NGOs have been going round photographing these, and can thus get their own picture of the election. The independent count, and estimates the Movement for Democratic Change winning 102 of the 176 seats they have data on, with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai winning 51% of the presidential vote (it is unclear how this figure is computed, but the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network [slow] gives a similar but slightly lower figure based on a random sample of 5% of polling places).
In addition, international media are reporting that Zanu PF officials have privately admitted that the results are known and that they have lost. Unfortunately, they are refusing to accept the people's will, and are instead going to rig the results again.
It'll probably take a few more days for this parody of democracy to finally play out. The question at the end of it is what should the opposition do? Accept yet another fraudulent denial of the people's will, or risk bloodshed and take to the streets?
Why should we care?
I hope they get out of the massive economic slump they seem to be in (26,000% inflation or some such number). They had an article in the paper a few days ago about how teenage prostitutes in Zimbabwe sell themselves for 50 cents, I was shocked, it's a major indication I think of the real economic situation. Mugabe pretty much screwed that country over when he kicked the White farmers off their land and replaced them with unskilled farmers (who happened to be black), it all went very downhill from there. Mugabe managed to turn an otherwise prosperous Zimbabwe into one of the (if not) the poorest country on the planet and I hope he loses this election, though his history of rigging past elections...
Inflation is above the 100,000% mark.
To give some idea of what that means, in January this year the Reserve Bank introduced the first $10million bank notes. At the time, that would buy you a chicken. Coming into April, a $10million note is worth two or three eggs.
There is a lot of increasing support for the return of white farmers to their land, because so little of that old land has been abandoned, simply because even the most capable farmers (white or black) struggle to make a profit under Mugabe's price controls, and simply can't get seeds or machinery to continue working the land.
People who were given land under the redistributions have either left for the cities, or grow enough for themselves.
Why an I not surprised to see political corruption at the hands of Mugabe? Really, should anyone be surprised?
This is definitely the biggest challenge yet to Mugabe's rule. The thing is, he can't act with impunity in the face of the results anymore because he just doesn't have the support he used to. The delay is highly suspicious and probably means the results are being tampered with. But will it be enough for Mugabe to cut the curve? Even if he's declared president, I would say it's questionable if he can actually hold on to the office for another term. Even a lot of his supporters already realize they lost the election. Mugabe is 84 and, I daresay, not in close touch with reality anymore. He's so obsessed with eliminating vile Western influence that he doesn't realize the people are sick of his presidency.
It has a bitter sense of irony that Mugabe is on of the oldest heads of state, and his population has a life expectancy of about 32 years.
who cares, they are stupid people the U.S. should conquer them and become an empire again
Even if the powers that be declare themselves winners I think alot of Mugabe's supporters are saying its over now. Mugabe will declare martial law and refuse to step down. I dont see this ending peacefully.
Rumour has it the MDC and ZANU-PF have been in talks over Mugabe stepping down. While its probably not true yet, it does seem everyone is aware Mugabe has lost the (first-round of the) election. See Radio New Zealand News : Latest News : 200804020901 : Parties deny talks over Mugabe resignation
The government summoning diplomats is interesting.
And a scathing editorial from the Zimbabwe Herald:
Finally to Tsvangirai, I say to you, you will never ever rule Zimbabwe.
How's that for liberal bias?:lol: