Secret Ballot

Using the term secret ballot is a good way to describe Zimbabwe’s election; the difference from usual is that the result seems to be a secret. It is now almost two weeks since the elections yet no answer. Of course annulling elections has a fairly long and dishonourable history throughout the world. In a way this has been a particularly clever ploy by Mugabe. Violence might be incited allowing a state of emergency and dismissing the elections. Alternatively as time goes by people may be less disbelieving of a Mugabe win or indeed the need for a run off, which could allow for increased violence and intimidation.

The Southern Africa Development Community are holding an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss the crisis; the regional power South Africa has ruled out forcing Mugabe to stand down though Jacob Zuma (possibly the next ZA president?) has voiced a different position to President Mbeki.

There is here a strange echo of Rhodesia’s UDI. When UDI was declared everyone expected something dramatic to happen immediately and when it did not life simply continued. Maybe Mugabe will simply sit this whole thing out and carry on being president without bothering to announce the election results? Unlikely but possible?

  • NP

    you might not know this, but there are rumours on the web that big bad bob is going loopy ?

    “not due to senility but rather the
    final brain-melting stages of syphilis”

    Im not a doctor but…..

  • Greenflag

    ‘ big bad bob is going loopy

    Is ? He’s been loopy for at least the past 15 years 🙁 Some say the loss of his first wife began his descent . Anyway it boggles the mind (not really if you’ve lived there) that two weeks after the election the possibe ‘result’ will be discussed between the neighbouring countries before the people of Zimbabwe are informed of the
    actual result. Mugabe has reduced Zimbabwe to the basket case State of Africa . He now seems intent on making Zimbabwe a pseudonym for crooked electioneering . Some British High Commissioner once said that it was a profound mistake to introduce the Africans to Chrisitianity and it would be an even bigger mistake to try to introduce them to ‘democracy’. Apart from a handful of cases some African leaders appear intent on proving that commissioner right 🙁

    Where is Sean gone ? Vote counting /rigging perhaps ?

  • joeCanuck

    I’ve been betting all comers for a week that there will be a recount which shows that Mugabe won, with 52% plus or minus 1 %.

  • joeCanuck

    Regarding his loopiness, I read about 4 years ago (in the Times or Time?) that the ghosts of his past were haunting him in wakening as well as sleeping hours and that he was terrified of dying.

  • Dewi

    Hell – advice ? SA invasion – Sean – this ain’t good.

  • Norton

    The role of the United Nations should not be merely to improve relations between countries, and thus to prevent war, but also to explicitly condemn the kind of behaviour which provokes civil war.
    Kofi Annan, erstwhile Secretary-General, went to Kenya, presumably on behalf of the UN or African Union, when the bloodshed was already at quite an advanced stage.
    Has anyone here heard even the slightest murmur of comment from Ban Ki Moon about the current situation in Zimbabwe?
    The African Union has repeatedly shown itself to be incapable and indeed, even more morally damning, unwilling to act against Robert Mugabe because of some rose-tinted fondness for his role in removing Ian Smith.
    Therefore if the African Union, for whatever reason, is unable to intervene in Zimbabwe then it is incumbent on the UN to do so.
    I understand that one of the obstacles to that may be the usual awkwardness of China, which is a friend of Mugabe and has significant vested interests in maintaining the status quo in the region.
    Nevertheless, China, as we know, has its own problems elsewhere and it is time to take advantage of that and intervene.
    How does that happen? Perhaps the UN should insist on having a representative at the summit. It is NOT the case that RM is still there because there is nothing that can be done about it. He is still there because of the connivance of the African Union and the silent complicity of the UN.
    Whatever we feel about the rights and wrongs of colonialism, the fact is that people are dying in Zimbabwe and there is a very real opportunity for change. We do not have the moral right to sit in our intellectual watchtowers discussing the rights and wrongs of what happened a hundred years ago while people die.

  • sammaguire

    The African Union has repeatedly shown itself to be incapable and indeed, even more morally damning, unwilling to act against Robert Mugabe because of some rose-tinted fondness for his role in removing Ian Smith.

    Posted by Norton on Apr 10, 2008 @ 11:43 PM

    Agree with you 100%.

  • The really scary thing for Zimbabwe isn’t Mugabe.It’s the number of Zimbabweans ( one of whom allegedly is a research student at Oxford University) who worship this guy.By the way if South Africa is so much better than Zimbabwe why are there 20 000 murders a year there? Or to put it another way if everyone in zimbabwe is so badly off how come the opposition hasn’t got some guns and started a war. After all the BBC is continually showing how easy it is to leave Zimbabwe and AK47’s seem about as difficult to get hold of as a glass of water. Must admit Zimbabwe looks better swept than most English council estates and the starving people certainly have better teeth – perhaps Zimbabwe has NHS dentistry. Anyway why is Mugabe any worse than a real psycho like Zenawi – oh Zenawi is Bush’s psycho.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The really scary thing for Zimbabwe isn’t Mugabe.It’s the number of Zimbabweans ( one of whom allegedly is a research student at Oxford University) who worship this guy. —Anyway why is Mugabe worse than —‘

    Richard Downes of RTE just wrote a report on his recent visit to Zim . It might give some people a little more perspective on why Mugabe has to go .

    ‘As I sat in the coffee shop in the airport fiddling with my bill, I reflected on the extraordinary state of affairs in Zimbabwe.
    I had just bought two cups of tea and two glasses of water and, reaching into my bag, I took out a massive wad of Zimbabwean dollars.

    New and crispy Z$10m notes. Clean and sleek.

    Then I looked at the bill. The charge was Z$204m. That would make a serious dent in my brick of notes. The Zimbabwean dollar is one of the most worthless currencies in the world so any notions of being a millionaire, or even a billionaire, lasted all of a few seconds.

    Not so long ago Z$204m would have bought you a highly profitable gold mine in the south of the country, near Kwekwe. A huge plant with hundreds of employees and land and buildings.

    A year or so later it would have bought an estate of expensive houses in one of the more salubrious suburbs of Harare.

    Even quite recently, you could still have bought a car with Z$204m, but today all you can get is a measly cup of tea. It is a pathetic state of affairs and a sign of the depths to which the country has fallen.

    Under Robert Mugabe, the country has been systematically looted by the top brass in the army and the ruling party

    More recently it has also proved that this
    At present Zimbabwe’s situation is perilous. Under Robert Mugabe, the country has been systematically looted by the top brass in the army and the ruling party.

    They have got rid of most of the white farmers who produced the basic wealth of the country. They control a deeply corrupt foreign exchange system that guarantees a few top dogs in government and the army millions of US dollars in hard currency every month.

    Virtually every aspect of life and the economy has been controlled by army people or members of the ruling Zanu-PF party. And they owe it all to Robert Mugabe.

    In that context, how would they ever allow the opposition to win the presidential election?

    The next round of Mugabe’s onslaught is well under way. The opposition says violence against its members by the ruling party has intensified.

    But it is crystal clear to anyone trying to look at the country with even a vaguely objective eye that it will only stay at a standstill and even reverse further, if the current leader and his cronies keep their stranglehold on the country and its people.

    As I left my cup of tea and made my way to the airplane and on to Johannesburg, I checked my bag and found that I still had about a billion Zimbabwean dollars sitting in a pouch.

    It is an offence to take Zimbabwean currency out of the country so I volunteered it to the customs officer who was searching my bag rigorously.

    “Yes sir, you should leave it here,” he said. “It will be worth nothing when you come back anyway.”