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Vol 49 No 13

Published 20th June 2008


Zimbabwe

The khaki election

The determination of the military to retain power at all costs makes the 27 June election deadly and pointless

The last ditch efforts by the United Nations’ Haile Menkerios and South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki to broker a meeting between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have failed this week. The hope was that the two sides might agree to cancel the run-off election due on 27 June and form a transitional government to oversee political, economic and electoral reforms before fresh national elections were organised, perhaps two years from now. Three months after the first round of the elections with more than 70 opposition supporters killed and thousands maimed by government-backed militias, relations between Mugabe and Tsvangirai are apparently so poisoned as to preclude any chance of a face-to-face meeting. That does not rule out a possible transitional government: short of civil conflict, it would be the most likely route to political change. But rather than try to negotiate a deal from a position of weakness and electoral defeat, the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front is determined to win the election and then offer positions to Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change as a junior partner.

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