The election was fixed but we must plan for life after Mugabe

via The election was fixed – but we must plan for life after Mugabe | This is Devon from Western Morning News 

I am not surprised by the results of Zimbabwe’s presidential and general elections; disappointed, but not surprised. After all, Zanu-PF had four years to plan its campaign to hold on to power. Robert Mugabe has worked hard on squaring his next-door neighbours – in particular South Africa. He knew that intimidating the voters during the campaign would lead to international condemnation; so what did he do?

The proceeds from the Marange diamonds went to Zanu-PF rather than the Zimbabwean Treasury. Mugabe fixed the registration process by appointing a senior Zanu-PF player as chairman of the Electoral Commission, and then didn’t release the electoral register until it was too late for his opponents to do anything about it.

Apart from ensuring that the roll included two million dead voters and a large number of centurions, when the average age is 51, a million voters were omitted. Mkhululi Nyathi resigned from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission saying that the polls two weeks ago did not meet the benchmarks of fairness.


Intimidation had been taking place some two years ago, when Kate Hoey MP (the Chairman of the Zimbabwean APPG) Lord Joffe (Nelson Mandela’s and Jacob Zuma’s solicitor) and I visited Zimbabwe with the Commonwealth. while there, we learnt that 26 MPs from the MDC – the main opposition to Zanu-PF – had been arrested; that the Speaker of Zimbabwe’s Parliament, Lovemore Mayo, had been forced to face re-election to his job within the Parliament, and that beatings were underway in rural areas.

Mugabe refused to allow any UN observers to oversee the registration process or the election; only representatives from the African Union were allowed to act as observers. Soon after polling day, I was told of people turning up at the polling station only to be informed that they were not on the electoral register or had been reassigned to another polling district.

So with over two-thirds of the membership of the Zimbabwean Parliament, Mugabe can now change the country’s constitution. He is no longer forced to have a coalition government with his arch opponent Morgan Tsvangari, and stick to the MDC’s spending plans.

Mugabe will have the power to force through his indigenisation polices where foreign-owned companies in the countries will have to employ Zimbabweans irrespective of their qualifications But Zanu-PF and Robert Mugabe’s victory may have much wider international and regional implications which could damage British strategic trade interests.

During our 2011 visit, we learnt that the Chinese are investing in a new staff college outside Harare, and are reportedly building in hi-tech communications similar to what might be found at our own GCHQ. This weekend the Chinese media reported that Hua Chumying, the Chinese Foreign Minister, hoped that all the political parties would accept the result. Zimbabwe’s economy is now very dependent on the Chinese.

This makes a mockery of our, the US and EU sanctions. The Chinese are also South Africa’s largest trading partners. The Simonstown naval base, near Cape Town, is of major strategic importance as it controls the Cape of Good Hope’s trade routes – which we the British need to export our goods to the Far East should the Suez Canal not be available. China funded Mugabe and Zanu-PF’s armed struggle, while the Russians funded Joshua Nkomo and ZAPU.

So what can the West do to try and bring about change? Any outside pressure will have to come from SADAC and specifically South Africa, the principal regional power. The problem here is that Mugabe is the only southern African leader left over from the anti-colonial struggle for independence and as such is treated with reverence and respect.

Britain and the EU should continue with sanctions on Mugabe and his key lieutenants, while we need to encourage the Chinese to try to put pressure on the Zanu-PF regime we also need to remember that the Chinese are indifferent to human rights and will want to protect their economic investment. We should be identifying the more moderate members of the Zanu-PF leadership who might be keen to see an end to sanctions and being brought back into the Commonwealth. The generals and brigadiers also need to be convinced that they won’t pay a personal price for any regime change. The immediate future for Zimbabwe is gloomy. However, having led Zanu-PF to an unprecedented election victory, Mugabe, who is 89 and suffering from prostate cancer, may decide to bow out and enjoy what is left of his retirement. The West therefore needs to plan for life after Mugabe.



  • comment-avatar
    Chiwaridzo 11 years ago

    Devon , the reason why Mugabe has been allowed to do what he has is because your spineless Govt has stood back and watched the Zimbabwean people reduced to terrified, poor, helpless citizens under a brutal dictator. The west needs to step up to the plate right now, completely boycott the up coming UN conference on Tourism, introduce comprehensive sanctions on Zimbabwe, deny Aid to all SADC countries that have endorsed Mugabe, reverse the KP ruling on Zimbabwean diamonds, do an in depth investigation on the company Nikuv , demand that the SADC tribunal is reinstated, demand that President Xuma releases the report made on the 2000 elections that the Mail and Guardian are calling for, there is enough evidence on individuals in Zimbabwe to have them placed on the ICC list for human rights abuses, the UK must investigate where all the money is going from diamond sales, investigate Robert Mshlanga of Mbada diamonds and his company Liparm in SA … Tell your goverment to Get off their backsides and do something …

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      Kusvikazvanaka 11 years ago

      The major problem is the west is also getting cheaper diamonds from Zimbabwe via the back door. As it stands…all we should do as workers is to stage a massive SIT in till we get basic reasonable wages of at least USD600,00 for the lowest paid. The ZANU PF mob will hide by the sanctions and treat us like slaves while their kids are enjoying first world education while unemployment is at 96%!! Agree for a SIT in in all sectors and see how he will survive…all transport operators should sacrifice a week in all major cities and give this rigger sleepless nights. Everyone including my 83 year old mother voted for MDC and suddenly Zanu PF is the VICTOR…Enough is enough…lets all SIT in even the police and especially teachers and nurses…

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      chandokupisa 11 years ago

      You are so obsessed to see Zimbabwe bleeding. shame on you. But all those you are calling are just but nothing. This country belongs to Zimbabweans. We will not allow people like you to instill fear in our peace loving nation. Go hang son of Lucifer. President Mugabe is not alone, the Almighty ordained him and will still pass through any obstacles, challenges. He will be there until you are all quite.

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      MikeH 11 years ago

      I could not agree more.

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    chimutengwende 11 years ago

    SIT in is the way to go. Total disengagement I support

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    jongwe power 11 years ago

    It’s fun to tallk about sit-ins and protests online, but the reality on the ground is this. Only 5 or so people actually protest, the riot cops gets called, some bones get broken, the protesters rot in remand prison, and life goes on as usual.

    Yes, the West is benefitting from the current situation in Zimbabwe via its Chinese middleman. Why should it give a damn about doing anything when it gets our tobacco and minerals via or Tian Ze or Anjin or whichever Chinese company is extracting our resources as we speak?

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    Hwese 11 years ago

    Its not easy my chance of seeing and experincing total democracy has been stollen. What next aluta until nextime love Hwese.

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    Tawanda 11 years ago

    i would hardly pain the chinese as the bad player in this situation relative to the west. The human rights record of the colonizers and even recent history is abysmal.
    The problem with mugabes rhetoric is it contains enough truth that resonates strongly with many people who have felt the agenda and abuse of western powers… well of the ruling elite in general. The issue of course is that mugabe needs to look in the mirror because he has perpetuated similar evils on his own people.
    Fortunately over time most people have seen through his half truths.
    The nature of globalization is that idea of economic growth and relative stability without engaging the global powers is a pipedream. At best mugabe is letting his fellow zimbabweans suffer for his idealism, pursuing independence from the west but in doing so becoming dependent on east.
    Life after mugabe won’t be much different… i am more interested in life after zanu pf… and even life post one party politics be that zanu or mdc.

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      Renhamo 11 years ago

      Its time people start being realistic. Zimbabwe has its own political and economic interests which are separate from those of the west. There is absolutely nothing wrong with economic empowerment as outlined by Zanu (PF). The west have always supported those people who are working against the economic advancement of the black people. Zimbabwe and its people have suffered more from colonization and will always protect its interests. We thank God that there are people like Mugabe regardless of his short coming who are clear that we need to serve our own interests.

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      I really appreciate Tawanda’s comment. I think he laid out the crux of the problem well. However, let us not be remiss of the economic benefits the current situation brings to the “ruling elites” and securocrats. The problem is therefore not just ideological difference between the current regime and the West but actually economical. At the end, we are in this situation because both parties want to exploit the situation for their own survival and get away with political rhetorics that contain those “half-truths”.

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    Bunguse Tauyawo 11 years ago

    Some of us are really getting tired of these opinions and half truths coming from visitors who know very little about the situation in this country. And we also got Zimbabweans (or are they)who yearn day in and out, for some salvation from Britain and America. Please grow up and realise that we got to work out our own way of doing things and get the most out of our resources. The more we look up to these “big powers” the more they take from us. And the more they take, the less is left for us who have nowhere else to call “our land” other than this very speacial and dear Zimbabwe!

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    A lots of plans are on the table to force Zanu pf to
    Surrender.first is to make it very difficult to rule .just wait and see MDC have to formally approach the .Con Court First.After the Con Court dismissed the case as widely expected you see riots you have never see before.Remember All foreign Company have no choice than to back MDC now
    Mark my Words

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    Mdaka 11 years ago

    arguing and all that jazz won’t bring anything to my table or pay my bills. Vanhu we let us watch we will never to anything to the Govt. Nhamo inhamo but we won’t go back to the situation in 2008. Coming of the west into the equation won’t help in any way. All politicians are the same. Let each one pray for GOD to intervene nokuti HE is the only ONE with our best interest at heart.

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      jongwe power 11 years ago

      Exactly! All politicians ARE the same. The problem is that their supporters idolise them as gods, when under different circumstances, they would be con-artists, cult leaders, serial killers, rapists, lawyers and jihadists.

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    What I find so sad is that before Independance, the African people’s voice and vote could not be heard in Rhodesia, and now even after Independance, their voice and vote still can’t be heard in Zimbabwe……what a tradgedy?!!