Hopes And Fears As Zimbabwe Votes




 
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Boots
 
March 31st, 2005  
chewie_nz
 

Topic: Hopes And Fears As Zimbabwe Votes


so, it's election time in zimbabwe again, will the world just stand back and do nothing in the face of this vicious dictator? robert mugabe has been called "the hitler of Africa" and yet nothing has been done....is it because it's happening in africa?
is because the west doesn't want to be seen as "meddeling imperialists"
or is it because zimbabwe has nothing the west needs (oil etc)


Hopes And Fears As Zimbabwe Votes

01/04/2005Cris Chinaka - ReutersZimbabwean voters streamed to vote on Thursday local time in polls that President Robert Mugabe proclaimed would be as fair as any in the world but which critics said would only produce another rigged result.

Mugabe, 81, predicted the parliamentary election would award a clear mandate to his ruling ZANU-PF, reaffirming the party's 25-year grip on the crisis-racked southern African nation.

Everybody has seen that they are free and fair elections. There can never be anywhere else where elections can be as free as they have been here," a confident Mugabe told reporters after casting his vote in a poor township on the edge of Harare.

"The people are behind us. We are going to win, by how much, that is what we are going to see."

International critics led by the United States and the European Union have already dismissed Thursday's vote as a sham, echoing opposition charges that Mugabe has used repressive laws, intimidation and even vital food supplies to engineer a victory.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai put a brave face on what analysts say is a longshot bid by his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), but said the election was fundamentally unfair.

"We all agree on all benchmarks that this is not going to be a free and fair election, but... I am sure that people will overcome the obstacles," he said after he voted in Harare.

Election officials reported smooth voting across the country, with polling stations drawing large queues in cities and rural voters using donkey-carts and bicycles to get their votes in before polling closed at 7 pm.

Officials say they expect first results within hours, although the final vote tally may take up to 48 hours.

Early Celebrations

In the the Harare township of Kuwadzana, queues were thinning in early afternoon and people began celebrating what they believed was an MDC victory in the area.

"Kuwadzana has voted against Mugabe since 2000 and will do it again," said Jeremy Matongo, 39-year-old businessman, raising his arms to the sky with a beer in each hand.

But the MDC, cowed and weakened by years of government pressure, is given less chance of success this time than in either 2000 or the presidential election of 2002. It came close to victory on both occasions and blamed fraud for its defeat.

Voters are choosing candidates to fill 120 of Zimbabwe's 150 parliamentary seats. Mugabe, who by law appoints 30 MPs, has said ZANU-PF hopes to take a two-thirds majority in parliament that will let it change the constitution at will.

Some 5.9 million of Zimbabwe's 12.6 million people are on the voters roll, but the opposition and critics say it has been inflated by about 1 million "ghost voters" to help ZANU-PF.

Eager to regain international respectability and meet regional electoral guidelines, Mugabe has emphasised that the vote should be peaceful. Violence during the campaign has dropped sharply compared with the previous polls, despite continued MDC charges of intimidation.

The European Union dismisses the poll as "phoney" and Washington says Mugabe has exploited food shortages - a frequent charge by the opposition but denied by the government.

"Our understanding is that ruling party candidates have given out government-owned food to draw voters to rallies. And that is, frankly, a despicable practice," US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters.

Australia's foreign minister said the poll was a sham.

Mugabe, 81, and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, says a big ZANU-PF win would bolster Zimbabwe's sovereignty in its confrontation with Britain and other Western powers who accuse him of misrule and wrecking the economy.

A deepening crisis has seen what was once one of Africa's most prosperous countries crippled by soaring inflation, high unemployment and shortages of food, fuel and foreign exchange.

Mugabe dubbed these polls the "anti-Blair" election and repeatedly urged voters to take a stand against what he said was a British drive to re-colonise the country, although some voters said on Thursday that campaign theme rang hollow.

"I don't know anything about Blair and that doesn't concern me," said an irate father in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo who declined to be identified. "We are suffering. There are no industries here. We need jobs. So for me those are the issues."
April 18th, 2005  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
or is it because zimbabwe has nothing the west needs (oil etc)
I suspect this is your answer in a round about sort of way.

If Zimbabwe had something that was crucial to western economies or they started threatening someone that did he would have been booted for touch 10 years ago, but much like other areas of Africa it doesn't cause a blip on western radars.
April 18th, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
Or could it be because African concerns do not reach out beyond their borders? No Africans have flown a plane into buildings, strapped bombs on themselves and blown up in marketplaces, etc., etc.

It is a shame indeed that terrible things happen in Africa and around the world. If you think of the planet as a physician taking care of patients then what is being done is nothing more than triage. Taking care of the worst case scenarios first and those that impact less later.
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Boots
April 18th, 2005  
chewie_nz
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charge 7
Or could it be because African concerns do not reach out beyond their borders? No Africans have flown a plane into buildings, strapped bombs on themselves and blown up in marketplaces, etc., etc.

It is a shame indeed that terrible things happen in Africa and around the world. If you think of the planet as a physician taking care of patients then what is being done is nothing more than triage. Taking care of the worst case scenarios first and those that impact less later.
rwanda




nuff said
April 18th, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
Lame UN

Nuff replied
April 18th, 2005  
chewie_nz
 
oh i agree with you charge...


millions dead in days though, and still we do nothing. yet another african dictator, and we do nothing. plague. drought. AIDS. etc etc


what the hell would it take for us to actually do SOMETHING
April 18th, 2005  
Charge 7
 
 
I whole heartedly agree with you that it is a tragedy. I hate to be a cynic, but the only way it will move up higher in the international scorecard for things to do next is for it's impact to reach beyond it's borders. It isn't right, but it's unfortunately the way of things. Limited resources from those who would be able to do anything and the lack of an international mandate put it very low on the crisis list.

You cited Iraq and oil and I cited cause for alarm on the homefront. Africa indeed calls neither to attention. I'll ask you this though; would aid to southeast Asia after the tsunami have been so great if thousands of Europeans, Australians, Americans, Canadians etc hadn't been drowned as well? And in a vacation driven area? Africa hasn't killed off many people from those lands and there's no vacationland there either.

I agree that more should be done. Perhaps if enough people globally say so there will be a UN mandate. I won't hold my breath though.
April 18th, 2005  
Locke
 
 
being cynical there is no benefit for any of the major countries to go in under any hat, be it NATO, UN or whatever. apart from of course the knowledge of doing the right thing
its going to become another instance where in 5-10 years time we will sit back and go "why didn't we do anything" and wonder what the world leaders were thinking
April 19th, 2005  
Missileer
 
 
For years the Middle East was at the forefront and America was called on to try and settle some old problems. Now that a lot of those seem to be falling in line what with elections and such, peace is at least in view for some countries. While the US and our stalwart and heroic allies (the ones who stayed the course) are in a mopup phase but taking casualties every day, some help from a few countries dedicated to peace in Africa would sure be appreciated. It's a tough thing to watch the young people of your country step up to that line in the sand and not back down until the last shot is fired in anger. All it takes is guts.