â€œâ€¦We stand exhausted and betrayed at this critical moment in Zimbabweâ€™s crisisâ€¦â€ Cathy Buckle wrote from Zimbabwe on Sunday.Â The fact that the results of the presidential elections â€“ due a week ago â€“ have still not been announced makes it a dead cert that Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party lost them.Â
Zanu-PF is demanding a â€œrecountâ€, but commentators say the party is â€œdisintegrating very fastâ€ and that â€œMugabe has no chance of winning a runoff electionâ€¦â€ (The Standard, Zimbabwe).Â But Mugabe and Zanu-PF donâ€™t want to accept defeat and are threatening to turn a â€“ so far â€“ relatively peaceful election process into a bloody battle involving the so called â€œwar veteransâ€ (most of whom are not old enough to have taken part in the 1970s â€œwarâ€).Â Mugabeâ€™s deputy information minister, Bright Matonga, who seems to be making all the public announcements for Mugabe and Zanu-PF at the moment, was quoted in the Sunday Times as saying, â€œWe only applied 25% of our energy in the first round. That [the runoff] is when we are going to unleash the other 75%.â€Â
My observations are: First, the delayed announcement of election results makes it obvious that Zanu-PF are busy â€˜doctoringâ€™ the actual outcome so they show that none of the candidates won the necessary 50, plus one percent required to prevent a runoff between the two leading contenders.Â Second, the statement by Matonga makes it clear that if there is a runoff, the full might of Zanu-PFâ€™s â€œwar vetâ€ thugs, backed as they always are by police and military, will make sure the voters vote for Mugabe or not at allâ€¦Â And itâ€™s already happening not only in the towns and cities but also in one of the rural constituencies that used to vote Mugabe but voted Tsvangirai this time, (Daily Mail, Mugabe sends out the heavy mob to intimidate voters).Â
After this election farce, not even the media, socialists and liberals can pretend that Mugabe or his government retains the even slightest thread of legitimacy.Â
It seems that Mugabe himself, now a tired old man (though still the same terrorist that he ever was) has been persuaded to try to hold onto power by his henchmen â€“ and by South Africaâ€™s President Mbeki.Â Mugabeâ€™s henchmen stand to lose their lavish lifestyle and brutal dominance of this once successful country.Â Mr Mbeki and South Africaâ€™s ANC will fear the consequences of another so called â€œliberationâ€ stable-mate government falling.Â If the popular vote can turn against the ruling Marxist Party in neighbouring Zimbabwe, what might happen to the ANC one day in South Africa?Â
Mugabe has always boasted that he has â€œdegrees in violenceâ€.Â I hope he will retreat instead this time, but itâ€™s a faint hopeâ€¦
Author, Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists. Â His novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience during Rhodesiaâ€™s war on terror, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.Â http://www.peterdaviesbooks.com
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