Three Different Takes on the Zimbabwean Presidential Battle
Last month’s election in Zimbabwe is yet to be resolved. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai believes he defeated President Robert Mugabe fairly, but a recount and a runoff may happen before the contest is finally decided. Meanwhile, opposition supporters say Mugabe’s party is attacking them as he holds on to power. Here are three stories from sources with different stakes in the situation.
First, as the BBC reported Friday, Mugabe has made his first fiery speech since the election dispute began.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has denounced the opposition and former colonial power Britain in his first speech since the disputed elections.
“Down with thieves who want to steal our country,” he told crowds marking 28 years of independence.
The outcome of the presidential poll is unclear but the high court has rejected an opposition bid to stop a recount.
Meanwhile, a Chinese ship carrying arms to Zimbabwe is reported to have left South Africa after failing to unload.
Next, here’s an April 16 report of attacks by the Zanu-PF militia on rural supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). It comes from a self-described independent news source, The Zimbabwean.
A Zimbabwean human rights group said this week hundreds had fled their homes in the countryside in fear of revenge attacks in the wake of the electoral defeat of Robert Mugabe in the March 29 poll.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe group – comprising labour, human rights and other civic organisations – said it had appealed to the international community for humanitarian assistance to deal with the problem of displaced people.
Most of the people who had fled their homes were supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai is Zimbabwe’s president in waiting.
Mugabe, who is now in effect the civilian leader of the military junta ruling Zimbabwe, has imposed a black out on election results, which has been widely condemned.
”We have a huge problem…displaced farm workers and political displacements. Now that Zanu (PF) is insisting on a run-off they do not feel safe returning to their communities where some of them were polling agents,” the Crisis spokesman said.
”About 500 people are known to ahave been displaced and we continue to receive reports from all over the country.”
Finally, here’s an opinion piece by Beatrice Mharapara in Zimbabwe’s government-owned Herald newspaper (April 15 edition):
The Herald via allAfrica.com:
I am so disappointed with Western media coverage of our elections. Western journalists went into Zimbabwe with one objective in mind that President Mugabe loses the elections while Morgan Tsvangirai wins.
The journalists are supposed to be objective and evenhanded but they are reporting only MDC-T activities and interviewing only MDC-T supporters ignoring Zanu-PF supporters. They have not reported one good thing about President Mugabe. If this is what they call democracy, I do not agree with it; I am now going to say my mind and educate them on Zimbabwean politics because they do not know the situation in depth apart from what they hear from the opposition they are supporting.