Friday, June 20, 2008

Zimbabwe: Mugabe's tactics may be working

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is apparently considering withdrawing from the June 27 presidential run-off election.

The reason: As many as 70 MDC supporters and/or family members have been murdered in recent weeks. It's pretty clear that thugs allied with Mugabe and ZANU-PF are behind the violence, although Mugabe himself blames the MDC. Mugabe is, of course, a delusional, paranoid tyrant who will do just about anything to hang on to power, so I don't know that we should be taking his word for much.

The MDC is saying that, unless something changes dramatically, the election will be a farce. Difficult to argue with - how do you vote your conscience when some addled "war veteran" is holding a Kalashnikov to the back of your head?

I understand what MDC is doing here. They are trying to draw international attention to the travesty underway in Zinbabwe. They are trying to force the international community, particularly the African community, to pressure Mugabe to back off and permit truly free elections.

However, this tactic may well backfire. Zimbabwe's neighbors, esp South Africa, have been reluctant to get too terribly involved in Zimbabwe. It may very well turn out the MDC hands the election over to Mugabe, and Zimbabwe continues its fall from the ranks of democratic states, and into the status of the failed.

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