Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Wrong turn...
Well,I certainly got it wrong on Friday suggesting that I didnt think Bob wouldn't enter a run-off. Apparently after much SADC, EU and UN discussions, Bob decided not to listen to his wife, but instead to listen to his old chums the military, and is now preparing for a battle. Literally, it seems.

Yesterday, police arrested seven electoral officials for "undercounting" votes for Mugabe in the presidential race. Funny that the presidential results have not officially been released yet. Meanwhile, Bob has been discussing the fact that he is preparing for a runoff. Again, funny that the presidential results have not officially been released yet. Bob then went on a diatribe about how the Zimbabwean people must not allow land to "slip back into white hands", whilst at the same time unleashing those fun police, the War Veterans, back onto the last remaining 400 white farmers' lands.

It's important to note that having lost the parliamentary majority, Bob's real hope of holding on to any significant power going forward is in having the ability to steal the run-off election, or failing that, to turn the state into such an ungovernable mess that he can introduce a 'state of emergency' and declare martial law with the military's support, something that the apartheid state was so adept at using back in the late 80's.

Zanu-PF has been staging provincial co-ordinating meetings with the view to crafting their strategies in the upcoming run-off election. Tsvangirai meanwhile, having not managed to get much support from any of the current SADC leadership, spent yesterday with someone with more vested interest in him, ANC president Jacob Zuma. Zuma has previously shown no fear of taking a much tougher stance on Mugabe, and it is from here that Tsvangirai may find his only top level ally in the SADC.

So what next? Reports from the ground in Zim describe an atmosphere pregnant with apprehension and fear, where anything could set off a tinderbox of violence. The court case to decide whether a recount can occur is yet to be heard, but this can be seen as part of a wider attempt by Mugabe to try to ensure that the 21 days in which the constitution states a run-off must occur after the election runs through, so that he can add to the confusion and attempt to seize the initiative.

There seems to be little we can do but wait...