The UK Times reports widespread opposition to the reelection of dictator Robert Mugabe. However, they report a systematic plan to disenfranchise voters:

Among the concerns cited are boundary changes, irregularities in registration, political intimidation and violence, lack of access to state-controlled media and partisan security officials.

Just in case this doesn’t keep someone from voting, the police will be allowed into the voting booths to “help” people vote, and the ballots will be counted not by teachers (as is usual in many third world countries) but by ZANU-PF councillers in those areas most likely to oppose Mugabe.

Since a large percentage of the most productive part of the population has fled overseas to find work and send support back to their families, Mugabe plans to not allow them to vote. After all, they include many who would otherwise oppose him. 
Mock elections are planned in South Africa and the UK as a way to protest this open disenfranchisement of eligible voters.

And just to make sure that the illusion of democracy is intact, Mugabe plans to prevent western observers from checking on the election, planning to ask countries such as Sudan and Libya to monitor elections.

Rural areas will probably vote for Mugabe anyway, since he controls the grain that people need to eat. Other opposition areas were decimated by his “operation cleanup” which made 80000 people living in suburbs that tended to vote against him homeless after the last elections.

True polls are impossible (from fear, and because polite Zimbabweans will tell the pollster what they think he wants to hear) but the UKTimes noted:

In the presidential race Mugabe is running at 20%, compared with 28% for Tsvangirai and 9% for Makoni, the new entrant. The remaining 42% who refused to express a preference are considered more likely to support the opposition than the government.

Unless South Africa intervenes, I doubt that the election will be fair. But since outside reporters are not allowed in Zimbabwe, it is hard to guess how many people will openly oppose Mugabe’s stealing another election, especially since the more vigourous and outspoken twenty five percent of the population now live elsewhere.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her blog, Makaipa blogspot., monitors news about Zimbabwe.

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