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April 23, 2008

When You Can’t Rig The Election, Ignore It!

by Brad Warbiany

There’s been a bit of deriliction of duty going on here at The Liberty Papers. I’ve been trying to keep track of happenings in Zimbabwe, but we’re now 25 days into an electoral nightmare in that nation, and I’ve not had the time to address it.

Zimbabwe has spent most of the last decade as an example of every possible thing that a government can do wrong. It gone from the “breadbasket” of the region to a starving, impoverished nation, with 6-figure inflation and 80%+ unemployment, and refugees streaming south into South Africa to escape the hopelessness. It’s gone from breadbasket to basketcase.

The remaining residents are fed up with their socialist dictator, Robert Mugabe. Mugabe is known for rigging elections, but political unrest is so severe this time around that many believed that he couldn’t win the race even with heavy-handed rigging.

The election was held more than three weeks ago, and most outside of the Mugabe regime believe that– at worst– his challenger has forced a run-off. Many believe that the challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, has won outright.

So what has Mugabe done? He’s withheld the results and proposed a national unity government with– you guessed it– Robert Mugabe at the helm!

A unity government led by President Robert Mugabe may be the best way to break Zimbabwe’s post-election deadlock, state media said Wednesday, as the first result from a recount of votes was declared.

The state-run Herald newspaper — a government mouthpiece — said it was clear that no side won a majority in the presidential election on March 29 and the best way forward was to form a government of national unity.

The opinion piece in the Herald, a tightly-controlled state newspaper, said the presidential election in which 84-year-old Mugabe faced off against opposition leader Tsvangirai had produced “no outright winner.”

“It is unlikely the ongoing recount will substantively alter that position. Accordingly, it stands to reason that the transitional government of national unity… should be led by the incumbent president,” it said.

The end of the Mugabe regime seemed– only three weeks ago– imminent, and those who have watched this situation from near and afar were ready to breath a sigh of relief. Yet he remains defiant, and it is becoming ever more clear that he won’t leave office voluntarily. It’s far better for Zimbabwe that this ends peacefully than through an uprising, but frankly the latter looks like the only way this may be rectified.

The time has come, Mr. Mugabe. The people have spoken. For the good of the residents you have often professed to champion, it is time to listen and go.

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4 Comments

  1. I don’t know how to email you Brad, so I’ll ask the question here. Why hasn’t there been any commentary on the amazing results from Paraguay’s election (aside from the fact that there hasn’t been as much controversy with that election)? The job that the Colorado Party has been doing, while not having results as tragic as those of the Mugabe regime, has not yielded anything but poverty and opportunity for corrupt politicians. I suppose my reasons for asking are somewhat selfish (I have family in Asuncion), but I think an update is in order given that you mentioned it earlier.

    Comment by Justin Bowen — April 23, 2008 @ 6:14 pm
  2. Justin,

    I can’t necessarily speak for the other contributors, but I’ve just been too busy. I’m not up to speed on the situation in Paraguay. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned it (I did a quick search of the archives, and didn’t see anything). I saw one article about it in this week’s Economist, but without an appreciation for the history, I just skimmed it.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 23, 2008 @ 9:11 pm
  3. Justin,

    I’ve been following the situation in Paraguay. Basically, you are correct the Colorado Party are basically a bunch of corrupt kleoptocrats. However, I don’t think the winner, Fernando Lugo, who is either a social democrat in the mold of Lula in Brazil and Bachelet in Chile or a neo-Marxist loudmouth in the mold of Hugo Chavez; depending on what you read, will do much for the country because he wants to redistribute wealth instead of creating wealth.

    Comment by Kevin — April 24, 2008 @ 10:09 am
  4. Fox News had a nice article a few days ago about how South African dockworkers refused to allow a ship filled with Chinese arms bound for Zimbabwe to be unloaded because they weren’t going to be seen as supporting Mugabe’s side in whatever happens:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,351733,00.html

    The man’s ship be sinking.

    Comment by UCrawford — April 24, 2008 @ 10:33 am

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