Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mugabe's Reign of Terror Persists

The New York Times Reports Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has pulled out of the run-off election.

It was over two and a half month's ago that Tsavangirai received more votes than the incumbent Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe's presidential election. However, Tsavangirai did not secure the 50% threshold needed and the election was forced into a run-off. In the days following the April 1st election and the announcement of a run-off at a future date that the international press sounded the alarm, warning against the terror and corruption that would surely plague the opposition in a run-off.

The NYT on April 3, 2008:

A Zimbabwean businessman with close links to the ruling party, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the nation’s military and intelligence chiefs discussed several options with the president after the vote appeared to go badly. These included the outright rigging of the election, going to a runoff and even the “elimination” of Mr. Tsvangirai.

As reports of Mugabe resorting to terror in an effort to drive off the opposition (including the out right assassination of 85 of Tsvangirai's party activists and supporters) became more frequent, Tsvangiari was forced to withdraw his bid:
At a news conference, Mr. Tsvangirai, who leads the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, or M.D.C., said he was unwilling to ask the party’s supporters to go to the polls on Friday “when that vote will cost them their lives.”

Mr. Tsvangirai’s decision came on a day when governing party youth militia armed with iron bars, sticks and other weapons beat his supporters as they sought to attend a rally for him in Harare.