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Published 20th June 2008

Vol 49 No 13


Zimbabwe

The khaki election

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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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.


The praise singing club

In Zimbabwe’s state-controlled media – the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (paradoxically modelled on the British Broadcasting Corporation but periodically purged), the Harare da...


The neighbours start to turn

It began with the refusal of Southern African governments to allow a shipment of Chinese arms to unload at their ports and cross their territory to landlocked Zimbabwe (AC Vol 49 N...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The Africa Progress Panel report, designed to hold rich and poor countries to pledges made at the Gleneagles G8 summit in 2005, was launched in London on 16 June. Although he later singled out Zimbabwe for opprobrium, former United Nations Secretary General and Panel member Kofi Annan avoided naming most of the African countries whose governments are breaking their promises of reform. And he failed to name the rich countries who are breaking their promises to double aid to poor countries by 2010...
The Africa Progress Panel report, designed to hold rich and poor countries to pledges made at the Gleneagles G8 summit in 2005, was launched in London on 16 June. Although he later singled out Zimbabwe for opprobrium, former United Nations Secretary General and Panel member Kofi Annan avoided naming most of the African countries whose governments are breaking their promises of reform. And he failed to name the rich countries who are breaking their promises to double aid to poor countries by 2010. The Panel’s reticence seems misplaced if countries are to keep their promises. There are other questions about its work. Africa’s GDP growth has averaged more than 5% a year over the past decade, thanks mainly to better policies and commodity demand from China and India. As many African states reduce their dependence on development aid (see our analysis of East Africa), the Progress Panel might find resonance in Africa if it focused more on the iniquities of the international trading system and capital flight. Earlier this month at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, a succession of African Trade Ministers rounded on European officials for stalling on trade and tariff reforms and the ending of rich country subsidies. European and United States’ efforts on aid and trade were again compared unfavourably to their Asian counterparts.
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