February 04, 2005

Zimbabwe: Upcoming "Elections"

The main opposition party in Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change, has announced that, "with a heavy heart", it intends to take part in the upcoming "elections".

Mugabe has done his level best to corrupt this electoral process and the Telegraph has a good article about this, from which I extract the following:

[MDC Party Spokesman] Mr Nyathi said: "The media remains muzzled. Free assembly is proscribed. The shambolic voters' roll continues to be the principal vehicle for electoral fraud. Constituency boundaries have been subjectively gerrymandered, while militias and militia bases continue to multiply and international observers continue to be unwelcome."

The MDC fought its first election in 2000, only nine months after it was formed, and won nearly half of the 120 seats in parliament after a violent run-up to polling.

Even Zimbabwe's partisan judiciary found that Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF had won at least eight seats unfairly. More than 30 legal challenges to the results are outstanding.

In 2002 the leader of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, was cheated of victory in the presidential election secretly run and manipulated by scores of army officers. He has spent nearly half of his five years as opposition leader under virtual house arrest on treason charges. Although western observers condemned the election as unfair, South Africa's crucial voice prevailed after its observers declared the poll legitimate.

New laws for the March 31 election allow the military to run both the voting and the counting.

Most MDC MPs have been detained, tortured, beaten up or deprived of their possessions since the party became the first to mount a serious challenge to Mr Mugabe's iron grip on power.

One of its most popular MPs, Roy Bennett, who has been frequently tortured and is serving a year in jail for pushing over Patrick Chinamasa, the justice minister, in parliament, has been chosen by his supporters to represent them again from prison.

I rarely get comments on the Zimbabwe posts but I feel, just the same, a sense of moral urgency to keep writing about it.

Posted by Random Penseur at February 4, 2005 12:35 PM

It's often difficult to comment with anything that doesn't include hearty amounts of profanity. I appreciate the posts nonetheless.

Posted by: Jim at February 4, 2005 02:05 PM

Jim's right. Not commenting doesn't mean it isn't being taken in. Quite frankly Mugabe's passing cannot come fast enough.

Posted by: Simon at February 7, 2005 02:21 AM

Well, I'm glad you two take it seriously, which is not a shock considering the source of the comments. Thanks for the encouragement.

Posted by: RP at February 8, 2005 09:59 AM
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