Monday, June 23, 2008

It's officially over in Zimbabwe: Mugabe wins.

Morgan Tsvangirai has pulled out of the run off election. Only the current Dictator Robert Mugabe is left, and he will win the vote, which is still scheduled for this Friday, June 27th.

There are now two major schools of thought: that Tsvangirai should have stayed in, even though his supporters had basically been intimidated into submission, and that he was right to pull out.

I personally sympathize with those who wanted Tsvangirai to become a symbol for Zimbabwean democracy, but I think it wasn't the time and place to stand up and lose an unfair election. Mugabe would have won anyway, and with Tsvangirai no longer in the race his supporters don't have to disclose themselves by voting. Since Mugabe would have won, he might well have tracked down large clusters of MDC supporters and killed or tortured them.

There will be another set of elections in six years, and Tsvangirai will still be alive; since he didn't make non-electoral trouble for Mugabe this time, Mugabe won't have him killed. Zimbabwe can't stand to be that much of a pariah, and the country would take a massive popularity hit if Tsvangirai died.

The best reasonable course of action I can see is that if Mugabe dies before the next elections, his successor might not have the organizational capacity, popularity, power or desire to supress Tsvangirai and his party. In this case, a democratic or nearly democratic election could take place that would allow the people of Zimbabwe to finally be free.

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