via Mugabe won with or without games: Annan NewsDay
FORMER United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan says President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF could have won the July 31 elections “with or without games” as the world warms up to the veteran ruler after over a decade in isolation.
Annan, one of Mugabe’s harshest critics, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper that Zanu PF was well-organised and the party had experience.
“We’ve seen the economic and political debate and the difficulties in and around Zimbabwe,” he said.
“The last elections have been declared ‘free’ and ‘fair’; I don’t think they used the word ‘credible’.
“I think the results have been accepted and he (Mugabe) has a good party organisation, they’ve been around for a long time, and probably could have won with or without games.”
Annan was no less delicate in considering Mugabe, who has been accused of ethnic cleansing, orchestrating political violence, stamping on civil society and media and rigging elections during his 33-year rule.
“I think he has made a contribution: he was very active in the independence struggle, fought for the independence of his country and also worked with quite a few of the leaders in this region for their own independence — very active members of the liberation movements,” the Ghanaian national said.
“So he has a place in history for that.”
There was little in his remarks to console MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who insists the election was fraudulent and has plunged the country into crisis.
Annan added: “What is important is that Zimbabwe, which had such great prospects, probably has a second chance now.
“It was a breadbasket of the region. When I hear of the World Food Programme sending food to Zimbabwe, it shows you what a setback has taken place.
“I think we should really work with them to pick up the pieces and move forward. Holding on to the past and who was right and who was wrong and all this doesn’t help.”
Last year, Annan slammed African politics, which he said nurtured the “Big Man” system in the mould of Mugabe’s rule in Zimbabwe.
“The support for the Big Man system — Robert Mugabe an example — created a political culture that simply encourages autocrats and dictatorships,” he said.