Friday, 04 April 2008

Mugabe won't quit

Almost a week after the voting closed in Zimbabwe, there is no sign of the presidential vote from the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission. Almost anywhere else the incumbent would have conceded defeat and handed over the reigns to the victor. Not so for Bob Mugabe and his party – Zanu-PF. The party’s attitude is that “we cannot just hand it to Morgan”.

It seems that Mugabe is determined to retain his hold on the country at any cost. Failing to win the election even with all sorts of rigging is not an obstacle. He is now preparing for a runoff against Morgan Tsvangirai – possibly employing sinister forces to help influence the outcome of that vote. And what if he loses? Military rule?

The jubilation that spread across Zimbabwe following the election has died down. It has been replaced by the fear that Mugabe will retain the presidency – by force if it comes to that.

In the meantime, Zimbabwe’s neighbours and the rest of the world should be applying pressure on the regime to relinquish power. South Africa should be playing a strong role here. Mugabe must be told in no uncertain terms that he has lost and must therefore leave.

Zimbabweans are hungry for freedom. They are hungry for the opportunity to fix their economy. They are hungry for food, for jobs and for a decent life. Zimbabwe has been laid to ruin, and the sooner Robert Mugabe decides to walk away the sooner reconstruction can begin.

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