Friday, 06 June 2008

Zimbabwe run-off amidst growing suppression

As the presidential run-off election in Zimbabwe draws closer, the use of brute force to suppress the opposition has been increasing daily. The opposition leader has been detained twice in as many days. Foreign diplomats have been detained and held by Mugabe's forces. The opposition has been banned from campaigning or holding rallies. Only Zanu-PF is allowed such privileges. Mugabe and Zanu-PF are leaving no stone unturned in its effort to ensure that Mugabe wins the run-off election.

South Africa has been well positioned to influence the course of events in Zimbabwe. Unfortunately the continued 'mediation' or 'quiet diplomacy' of the South African president has proven itself to be thinly disguised support for Mugabe's despotic regime.

The roots of this support is based upon a sense of loyalty between old comrades in arms. Mugabe provided real support to the ANC during its years of struggle. When a liberation leader becomes a dictator it is time for that loyalty to fall away. Mugabe has become a despotic ruler that has laid his own country to waste. Millions of Zimbabweans are unable to live in their own country. How long can misplaced loyalty be allowed to influence the future of Zimbabwe?

South Africa provides the gateway to the country and perhaps, the key. South Africa could play a much more decisive and influential role in this sad country.

Once again we can expect Mugabe to attempt to steal the elections. If he fails in that quest can we expect military rule?

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