…and while the world paid attention to other more pressing issues (of urgent international importance), Zimbabwe’s incumbent president quietly swept (or stole, as some within and outside the country will have it) the polls to gain the presidency for another 5-year term while his party, The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, ZANU-PF party won two-thirds of the seats in parliament, to the dismay and chagrin of the main opposition The Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai, MDC-T led by Mugabe’s perennial challenger and Prime Minister (under the Unity Government), Morgan Tsvangirai.
As expected Mr. Tsvangirai has declared the election results a farce, while the African Union Election Observer Mission led by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (whose selection in the first place was rejected by a section of Zimbabwe’s civil society, citing his tainted democratic credentials) has stated that the election was in the main free, fair and credible, and that even though there were reports of some irregularities, those were minor and couldn’t have been enough to influence the general outcome of the elections.
The MDC-T on it’s part claims that up to a million voters were disenfranchised as they couldn’t find their names on the voters list, which contained names of several DEAD people.
Interestingly election observers from the west and other countries and institutions critical of Mugabe’s government were barred from monitoring the elections while, those from countries like Venezuela and Russia amongst others (apart from the African Union) were accorded red-carpet reception.
Expectedly, the west have in different statements expressed their disappointment with the conduct of the elections after they saw the little hope of the change they envisaged vaporise, especially after their press made a show of Mugabe’s insinuation pre-election to the effect that he will step down should he lose the last elections, and have not indicated any shift in their hostile relationship with Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.
It is expected though that the subsisting sanctions placed on Zimbabwe by the Western Nations of Europe and the United States will remain despite the recent appeal by the Zambian government for them to withdraw the sanctions which mainly targets members of Mugabe’s inner caucus particularly and Zimbabwe’s economy generally leading to an unemployement rate of about 90%.
Mugabe has however been bouyed by the recent improvement in the economy, mostly driven by Chinese aid and investment, which is even now spreading to areas and segments of the economy once held by Western interests.
The weakened economy for which President Mugabe was blamed for in 2008, resulting in his inability to win by a landslide, losing probably for which the Unity Government option became necessity, after pre and post election violence pitting ZANU-PF’s supporters against the two factions of the MDC back then, has now given way to some positive light at the end of Zimbabwe’s tunnel to the shame of Western Nations and others who simply hate Mugabe’s guts.
The slow but steady upturn in Zimbabwe’s economy may have turned the tide around in Mugabe’s favour, as even those who opposed him earlier on, especially in the 2008 elections have become also disenchanted with the Western powers for their ‘dictatorial’ tendencies, while lauding Mugabe for refusing to play their stooge, as well as for his doggedness.
Having now considered to have won this elections, President Robert Mugabe should now be magnanimous in victory and play the role of a father to all Zimbabweans regardless of their ethnic and political leanings.
He needs to include and listen to voices across the divide even if he won’t accept them into his government. Working towards taking Zimbabwe from the basket case she’s become to the food basket she once was should be paramount in his agenda.
Respect for the Rule of Law should be emphasized, and every Zimbabweans right to free speech and association should as well be respected.
The view held by those who oppose him may not change, but he does have another opportunity to stun them by bringing about the much needed change that will even make the snobbery west regret their actions towards him.
He would transmit into a statesman, if he decides midway into this tenure to tow Madiba’s line by resigning from power, but that will be wishful thinking.
As for Mr. Tsvangirai, I think he should rally his people together and continue to build a strong and virile opposition party, that will better challenge in future, where even he may decide to take a back seat for another with a brighter idea to take a shot at the presidency. He must shed the toga of a ‘Western Stooge’ that currently hangs ‘pon his neck, and begin to localize his views to be in tandem with the yearnings of the Zimbabwean populace, nay electorate.
As Mugabe begins another tenure in office for ‘Five Years’, I hope it will herald the return of that country to the comity of nations from the almost pariah state that the Western countries have by the imposition of sanctions decreed upon it.