Sunday, April 13, 2008

News Analysis: Zimbabwe risks falling into Kenya-style

Harare, ZIMBABWE: The MDC MP for Harare North Trudy Stevenson writhes in agony on her hospital bed at the Avenues Clinic after being allegedly assaulted with a machete in political violence that flared up in Mabvuku during the weekend. AFP PHOTO/STRINGER (Photo credit STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Tensions in Zimbabwe escalated on Sunday after announcement of a recount of the March 29 general elections' votes, raising fears that the South African nation may fall into Kenya-style post-election chaos.

State media reported that 23 out of 210 constituencies will be recounted next Saturday.
As news of the recount came, leaders of Southern African countries convened in the Zambian capital of Lusaka on Saturday for an emergency meeting to break the impasse in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe was absent from the regional meeting.

The African nation held elections for parliamentarians, local councilors and president on March 29, but the failure to release presidential results has triggered a serious crisis.

Chairman of the Southern African Development Community and Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who called the Lusaka summit several days ago, said the delay in announcing the presidential race result has evoked "a climate of tension" in the Zambian neighbor.

After the March 29 elections, Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claimed its leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won outright in the presidential race.
However, there were also reports indicating that neither incumbent President Mugabe nor Tsvangirai has secured enough votesfor an outright victory.

While Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front envisions a run-off, the opposition has ruled out Tsvangirai's participation, saying that a second round would be undemocratic due to Mugabe's intimidation tactics.

"What the war veterans are doing is preparing for a re-run because Mugabe realizes that an announcement that he has won outright will not be believed," said political analyst Lovemore Madhuku.
Madhuku was referring to the independence war veterans that the opposition said Mugabe had sent out to ensure a second round victory.

"You will get the war veterans again on the war path. If there is a runoff the war veterans would make it difficult for some people to turn out to vote," said Madhuku, a critic of Mugabe and chairman of pressure group, the National Constitutional Assembly.

The opposition has also called for a general strike to be launched from Tuesday, the day after a court is due to rule on its bid to force the publication of the election result.

The political turmoil has added insult to injury for a nation which is deeply trapped in an economic crisis.

With inflation raging at higher and prices soaring irrationally, the government introduced earlier this month a 50-million-dollar Zimbabwe note, which could only buy three loaves of bread then and is depreciating quickly.

The International Monetary Fund said Saturday that even before the disputed March 29 election, things were bad in Zimbabwe.

It added that independent finance houses calculated inflation at around 290,000 percent in Zimbabwe compared to the official figure of 100,500 percent.

If not properly handled, the crisis in Zimbabwe has the risk of escalating toward the style of the deadly riots in Kenya, which was once one of Africa's most stable countries. The recent clashes in Kenya left more than 1,000 people killed and 350,000 others displaced.


Anonymous said...

What is wrong with Africa?

Coffie said...

I cry for my people!!