Monday, June 23, 2008

Tsvangirai Withdraws From Zimbabwe Election

Yesterday, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai announced he was withdrawing from the runoff election that was scheduled to take place this Friday. Tsvangirai said he did not want Zimbabweans risking their lives to vote. The Mugabe government has been responsible for the deaths of dozens of opposition activists - some of whom have had limbs hacked off and have been burned alive.

The government said Tsvangirai withdrew only because he would lose Friday's vote. Yet it was Mugabe would made it clear he would not relinquish power if the vote had gone Tsvangirai's way. So talk about disingenuousness.

So where does this leave Zimbabwe? Unless there is an internal revolt within the ZANU-PF, Mugabe will be President for Life. Indeed, Mugabe has said he wants to serve as President until he is 100. He is 84. Zimbabweans don't have 16 years to wait.

I suspect that we will see a flood of Zimbabwean refugees. Of course, this has been happening for some time now but there will be an escalation. It is worth noting though there has been violence committed against Zimbabweans in South Africa. Botswana has electric fences on its borders. So one wonders if Zimbabweans will most likely seek harbor in Mozambique but inevitably it would take its own measures to stem the tide. Although Mugabe has received a bit of a backlash amongst the Southern African Development Community, don't look to them to help the people of Zimbabwe. Under those circumstances, we might see a flux of Zimbabweans making their way to Europe and North America. Given its status as its one time colonial master, Britain would be ideally suited to take the lead here. Suffice it to say, it is a pretty sad state of affairs if the best available option for Zimbabweans is if they are to leave their country.

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