The MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai has pulled out of the Zimbabwe election stating that it cannot be free and fair.
“We in the MDC cannot ask them to cast their vote on 27 June, when that vote could cost them their lives.”
“We have resolved that we will no longer participate in this violent, illegitimate sham of an election process.”
“We will not play the game of Mugabe”
This move probably makes sense; it had become abundantly clear that there was no prospect of the run off election being free and fair. In such circumstances there was no prospect of anything other than a ZANU PF victory. This move by Tsvangirai will ensure that Mugabe cannot use this election to legitimise his continued rule and will also hopefully reduce further violence.
Tsvangari has called on the UN, African Union and Southern Africa Development Community to intervene. The most important issue will be what the South Africans now do. The immediate response from Thabo Mbekis spokesperson was We are very encouraged that Mr Tsvangirai, himself, says he is not closing the door completely on negotiations. History really seems to be repeating itself: clearly it is most unlikely that the South Africans nor anyone else is going to invade or use air strikes to topple Mugabe; just as Harold Wilson refused to use force in 1965 against UDI. The question is whether South Africa will stand by Mugabe or ratchet up the pressure on him as eventually a previous South Africa did all those years ago on Ian Smiths Rhodesia. Sadly my prediction of the election outcome made in January seems to be about to come true.