Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Zimbabwe election troubles continue

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has formally withdrawn presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, from Friday’s run-off election. A hand delivered letter signed by Tsvangirai was taken to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

"The situation ... now is very different from what has been experienced in this country since independence," Tsvangirai wrote. "The violence, intimidation, death, destruction of property is just too much for anyone to dream of a free and fair election, let alone expect our people to be able to freely and independently express to free themselves. For this reason, my party and I have resolved that we cannot be party to this flawed process."

Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, has said that Friday's vote will happen, even without Tsvangirai.

President Mugabe, 84, made it clear at a rally today that there is "only one thing for us to accomplish... it's the legal process on the 27th of June."

Tsvangirai got more votes than Mugabe in the March 29 election, but failed to gather enough to avoid a runoff.

His decision to abandon his presidential campaign gives an apparent victory to Mugabe, who has been Zimbabwe's only leader since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.

Observers are worried that the violence will continue to spiral out of control. One ominous sign is the withdrawal of independent monitors who would be able to observe and protect voters at the polls. There have been reports that people in the Musana Communal Lands, in the Bindura / Shamva area (Mashonaland Central), have had their hands cut off.

On Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously condemned the Zimbabwean government because of the violence that has continued in advance of the election runoff. To read Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made the following remarks on Zimbabwe, click here.

It is disappointing to learn the Tsvangirai was forced to withdraw from the election; however, can anyone blame him? When Mugabe claims that “only God” will end his reign, it is pointless for Tsvangirai to think that he would live to serve even if he won on Friday. The elections are not fair and free, and that’s a tragedy for Zimbabwe, for Africa, and for the world.

For more on the Zimbabwe Election . . .

Zimbabwe Election turmoil continues

ANC 'dismayed' by Zimbabwe crisis

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