Mugabe Wins!… Opposition Quits Election Race

There’s more than one way to win an election.

Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai announced today that he is pulling out of Friday’s presidential run-off and essentially handing victory to tyrant Robert Mugabe, the BBC reported.

Morgan Tsvangirai believed there would be no point in running in the latest election since it would be rigged anyway.
The opposition is beaten.

It’s been a long hard year for Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) who was beaten by Mugabe thugs back in March of 2007.

Sokwanele has the full statement from Morgan Tsvangirai posted on its blog.
Hat Tip Cindy

UPDATE: This news comes from Andrew who has family in Zimbabwe.
It comes from a recent talk by Mr. James McGee Ambassador of the United States of America to Zimbabwe on the horrid situation in Zimbabwe:

At independence, Tanzanian leader, Julius Nyerere, told Zimbabwe’s new leader, Robert Mugabe, that he had inherited the jewel of Africa and urged him to protect it. Zimbabwe was to be the model for a new Africa. It was the region’s breadbasket.

The economy’s potential was limitless. An effort was being made towards racial reconciliation. Twenty-eight years later, as I flew down from Harare this morning, I left a country on the precipice. Zimbabwe today, is teetering on the edge of lawlessness and anarchy. It is a country on the brink of starvation. It has already fallen off the precipice of economic collapse and is sinking into a seemingly bottomless abyss. These problems are the direct result of a regime that cares more about clinging to power and the personal riches it brings than it does the welfare of its citizens. Sadly, as I stand here today, the prospects for a free and fair election that might bring change to Zimbabwe are limited. The government-directed campaign of violence and intimidation, coupled with planned electoral fraud make a free and fair election impossible. The only possible antidote is an immediate and large-scale commitment to independent electoral observation by SADC, the African Union and others.

The most immediate threat facing many Zimbabweans is violence and lawlessness. The campaign of violence being conducted by the Mugabe regime is out of control and shows a callous disregard for local and international laws and the most basic standards of human rights. This once proud liberation movement is willing to beat and kill its own citizens. It is willing to violate the norms of civilized societies. It is willing to violate SADC’s protocols on elections. And, as I have experienced first hand, it is even willing to ignore the most basic protections for diplomats provided in the Vienna Convention. Corruption, greed and the need to maintain themselves in power have converted freedom fighters and liberators into lawless tyrants. I have witnessed with my own eyes the victims of this violence, and any attempt to deny it or claim it is the result of opposition activity is simply a lie.

To date over 3000 people have been hospitalized and over 60 killed. Over 30,000 have been displaced from their homes and villages. And those are only the confirmed cases we know about. I have received reports of a primary school principal dragged out of his office in broad daylight, never to be seen again, for no other reason than that he worked at a polling station that voted MDC in the March 29 elections. The elderly grandmother of the MDC’s spokesman was assaulted because of her grandson’s activities. Children are being dragged out every night and forced to chant ZANU-PF slogans and more. I don’t think it is inappropriate to call a regime willing to assault educators, the elderly and youth as lawless.

At an even more basic level, there is no Government of Zimbabwe. According to Zimbabwean law, the Parliament was dissolved before the March 29 elections. The newly elected Parliament has never been convened. We now have the situation of a regime claiming to be represented by “Ministers” who have not been appointed by any Parliament.

Zimbabwe’s disastrous harvest is but one symptom of an economy that has already gone over the precipice. The numbers are truly staggering. Inflation is over two million percent according to reliable private estimates. In the past week alone the Zimbabwe dollar lost 56% of its value against the U.S. dollar. To give you some perspective on what that kind of inflation means, I have heard stories of people stranded downtown because the price of a commuter bus rose from 600 million Zimbabwean dollars to 800 million dollars between the morning and afternoon commutes.

Routine transactions now require so many zeroes that some accounting systems cannot handle them. Unemployment is over 80%. Manufacturing levels have plummeted. Businesses close their doors literally every day. Even mining, one of Zimbabwe’s few remaining foreign currency earners is suffering as power cuts and lack of needed supplies cut into production. Zimbabwe’s once vibrant economy is practically non-existent at this point. Those hit hardest, of course, are the poor who make up the vast majority of Zimbabwe’s population.

Zimbabwe’s leadership is wont to blame the country’s economic problems on Western sanctions. First, the only real sanctions on Zimbabwe at present are targeted sanctions against regime leaders which prevent them from traveling to the U.S. and from doing business with U.S. firms. While the Government of Zimbabwe refers to the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA) as a type of sanction, this is not the case. ZDERA prevents the U.S. from supporting international financial institution assistance, such as from the IMF or World Bank, to Zimbabwe. Even without ZDERA, international financial institutions would not lend to Zimbabwe because of its terribly mismanaged economy and its failure to pay back prior loans. Zimbabwe alone owes the World Bank over 600 million US dollars.

I wish I could stand here and say that the June 27 run-off offers the chance for political change and a brighter future. Unfortunately, the current climate makes free and fair elections impossible. MDC candidate Morgan Tsvangirai is hounded at every turn, making it impossible to campaign. Since his return to Zimbabwe, he has been detained by the police four times. His campaign vehicles have been confiscated. The Mugabe regime is providing no political space for him to campaign.

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