It’s a fight for our lives, says Mugabe

Stakes are high as Zim heads into tight election battle

CRISIS-WEARY Zimbabweans head to the polls tomorrow, in an already contentious election that could see President Robert Mugabe extend his 33-year grip on power.

 

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe

More than six million Zimbabweans are eligible to cast their ballots in this, the first round of a presidential vote as well as parliamentary and council polls.

Election day will crown a campaign already marred by allegations that Mugabe has taken steps to rig what is likely his last election.

The 89-year-old – who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980 – has expressed an iron determination to win this “do-or-die” campaign, despite persistent rumours of failing health.

“It’s a fight for our lives. It’s a battle for survival,” he told 20 000 supporters as he kicked off his campaign earlier this month.

Mugabe’s opponent, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has accused the veteran leader of manipulating the voters’ roll in “a desperate attempt to subvert the people’s will”.

This will be the 61-year-old’s third attempt to unseat Mugabe, after a series of flawed and violent elections. In 2008 Tsvangirai won the first round of voting, but pulled out of the race after some 200 of his supporters were killed.

This time round, either man will still need 50% of the vote to avoid a run-off.

According to the Research and Advocacy Unit, a non-governmental group, in June the electoral roll still contained the names of one million dead or departed voters.

A new round of registration has since taken place, but like so many other democratic reforms planned in the wake of the 2008 poll, implementation has been patchy. Mugabe and Tsvangirai were conscripted into a unity government in the aftermath of the last election by outside powers keen to put an end to years of political and economic turmoil.

The arranged marriage resulted in a new constitution, but many promised reforms have failed to materialise.

The army, police and electoral bodies remain under Mugabe’s control and closely allied to him.

Early voting for the police and military was chaotic, with thousands unable to cast their vote because ballot papers were not printed in time.

“Judging by the chaos that we witnessed during the special voting exercise, the country is headed for another sham election whose outcome will not reflect the will of the people,” said Phillip Pasirayi, a Harare-based political analyst.

Western poll observers and some journalists have not been granted permission to cover the elections. But African observers have so far been upbeat about the elections.

“We think they will be able to manage,” said African Union commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

While Washington has warned it may ramp up sanctions if the vote is not fair, among the international community there appears to be little appetite to return to sanctions.

The European Union has said it will defer to Zimbabwe’s neighbours, particularly the 15member SADC bloc, which will deploy 442 observers to cover 210 constituencies.

For all the talk about this being Mugabe’s last election, analysts note this may also be Tsvangirai’s last roll of the dice.

He has lead the MDC since 1999. “Tsvangirai will get a protest vote from those who want change and a sympathy vote from those who feel for him, for the attacks he has suffered,” said Shakespeare Hamauswa, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe. – Sapa-AFP

6 COMMENTS

  1. Fight for our lives – I think not. It is a fight for HIS life.

    This piece of bigotory rubbish deserves nothing more than to spend the rest of his life in jail. The pain and hardship he has caused by his thieving has caused hardship and downfall of a proud nation.

    Sadly we all know he will rig the election to win.

    And of course Showerhead and the ANC will stand by and do nothing as well.

  2. I might wish Mugabe to retire but if Morgan win he will hand his leadership to Britain and US. If we think carefully Mugabe is for total freedom which white
    people are not ready to let black people rule. Which country in African is not ruled by manipulative people. Mugabe bravo for trying. All who want to do away with white rule are painted as criminals. Saddam, Gadaffi RIP,

    • Define ‘freedom’ Niezsche. You seem to think it acceptable that Mugabe has single-handedly destroyed what was once the most prosperous country in Africa after South Africa. You also find it acceptable that Africa is ruled by manipulative people. Are you living in Zimbabawe or do you prefer to stay this side of Beit Bridge?

    • “people are not ready to let black people rule” You must be joking. The truth is that black people are not ready to rule. Just look around you and at the rest of Africa for an explanation.

  3. Niezsche you cannot brush aside the fact that this creature is evil personified.He has killed thousands, imprisoned tens of thousands , tortured anyone that even whispers against him or his party.His goons have taken away land and ruined it.
    Magabe has massive sums of money stashed overseas and his people are starving, jobless, hopeless and desitute.This has got nothing to do with anyone or any colour. He is evil and those of his inner circle are evil.He must be tried for war crimes as soon as he loses his grip on power, which is hopefully in the next few weeks.

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