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Edric O

The end for Mugabe?

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Robert Mugabe, one of Africa's most notorious semi-dictators and a living example of what absolute power can do to a man, is facing the end of his political career. He has been president of Zimbabwe for 28 years, and in that time he went from being an energetic and widely popular independence hero to being a senile, paranoid old man whose corruption and incompetence have ruined the country. He was a good leader once, but power drove him insane.

There were presidential and parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe last week. Mugabe's party, ZANU-PF, lost the parliamentary election. Results for the presidential election are long overdue, but haven't been announced yet - probably because they don't look good for Mugabe. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Here are some articles from the BBC on the situation:

Q&A: Zimbabwe elections

Zanu-PF: Ready to abandon Mugabe?

Zimbabwe voters wait for results

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I was expecting him to rig the elections as last time ??? *sure you can vote, if you can reach the poll booths which are hidden so far into the jungle that even the UN could barely get there with 4X4 vehicles which are then guarded by loyalist party troops*

I wonder why he strayed from his usual route? Perhaps he wants to retire, or maybe he fears the rising resentment of the populace of Zimbabwe?

Or perhaps he finally intends to make his dictatorship official and absolute?

Btw, who DID win the parliamentary election? Somebody interesting maybe? or just some other corrupt party. Well, I'm not sure there is such a thing (ie: another corrupt Zim party other than the ruling party), since such parties normally need to be in power (or vying for it) for some time before becoming corrupted.

(edit)

Btw, Finally back after waiting for my monthly cap to replenish and finally fixing my damn internet software. Left for a week and missed much ''action'' here! doh.

After that digression, I agree that it will be interesting to see what happens next. Hopefully things will be progressive for once, rather than ordaining to the usual.

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"Btw, who DID win the parliamentary election? Somebody interesting maybe? or just some other corrupt party"

The MDC - the 'movement for democratic change' - essentially the "We're not Mugabe Party". Probably marginally better than Mugabe, they'll essentially allow in some short-term overdue aid from outside in return for selling off what remains of the country's future in the form of privatising everything. They'll probably allow a little more civil freedom as well.

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I guess if Mugabe doesn't step down, there could be similar violence as there was in Kenya.

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Of course, the MDC... how could I forget about them. ???

Sadly, you're probably right Nema. To me it seems that govt's almost always pass through a capitalist stage after passing from dictatorships of various kinds, only to once again return to a de facto dictatorship via oligarchy, or some other perversion of democracy that becomes more exclusive to the powerful (normally the wealthy). Eventually, this de facto dictatorship becomes more and more official and recognized and eventually dissent causes change but only back to the capitalist stage. It's only a silly whimsically thrown out theory but sometimes it seems like that is the pattern of change for forms of governance.

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He'll try to get a rerun of the elections between Zanu-PF and MDC I think, but hopefully either the AU or UN will force him to resign.

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Results not announced yet? They're probably re-counting - and they just re-count until the results tip in their favour. You know... ;)

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It is not so rare that a higher power or authority takes the decision out of somebody's hand when they suspect they are not able to make it properly. Eg: No drinking, sex, or driving till legal age. No drug taking, e.t.c.

It seems to me that even if there WERE an honest election that Mugabe won, that it would be completely justifiable for another power to force his resignation and replacement with a decent leader and party for the reason that anybody voting for Mugabe is clearly as unfit as anybody taking drugs or drinking and driving. If we can force people not to do those stupid things because it is a danger to themselves and others then what's wrong with forcing the zim's pop to have a decent ruler as clearly putting somebody like Mugabe in charge is a danger to many.

So ie, not even the election excuse should work here IMO, though, obviously, Mugabe could never win an honest election.

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The MDC - the 'movement for democratic change' - essentially the "We're not Mugabe Party". Probably marginally better than Mugabe, they'll essentially allow in some short-term overdue aid from outside in return for selling off what remains of the country's future in the form of privatising everything. They'll probably allow a little more civil freedom as well.

You are right, but as much as it pains me to say this, Mugabe has mismanaged the country so badly that the MDC would probably still be an improvement on the current disastrous situation. Corruption is so rampant and the official economy is in such a state of utter collapse that everything is effectively privatised already (in the sense that it is controlled by this or that mafia boss).

The most urgent tasks of any new government are to stop hyperinflation, bring the informal sector back into the official economy, and crack down on corruption and cronyism very hard.

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What is basically the case is that Mugabe and his rule are pretty much ROCK BOTTOM. It doesn't really matter what happens next (in determing if things will get better, excluding the possibility of continued Mugabe rule) as anything will be an improvement. How much of an improvement is a different story. Hmmm, the MDC, I wonder if their support is just there because people are desperate to end Mugabe's reign anyway possible and are not willing to wait for another viable party to arise. It kind of seems like they are the only party to have really survived the regime's crackdowns. Too bad, as a socialist party may have thrived in a case like this. It was not so long ago that some of us (me included) mentioning that people will be driven to change when they are sufficiently deep in the ''$h!t bucket''. In Zimbabwe that was pretty the much case but since they had the remaining change to go to from regime to psuedo-democracy they will unfortunately make that rather than an attempt at direct democracy or socialism. If there existed a country like Zimbabwe with a capitalist economy or USA/UK style government then we could see a country turning to socialism and/or a ''more democratic'' democracy than those typically offered. The latter would still probably be quite unlikely though. There are not yet many countries like that though. However, as globalization continues and the exploitation continues and intensifies I expect that such countries will come about and might socialism.

Just a little remark on the attempts at socialism on countries like Zim that are in the regime ''$h!t bucket'' but not yet in the ''democratic'' capitalist exploitation ''sh!t bucket''.

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You are correct. I'm not sure exactly what the range of opinion is within the MDC - they are basically the "anything but Mugabe" party, so it is entirely possible that they are a diverse group of people with widely different opinions, including some socialists. The leadership of the MDC appears to be mostly liberal, though.

Oh, and in other news, they are STILL counting the votes, while the government is trying to quietly and not-so-quietly suppress the opposition:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/africa/2008/zimbabwe/default.stm

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Zimbabwe poll results announced.  MDC come in first place with 47%, with Zanu PF on 43%, forcing a second round.

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