Diaspora Fears Mugabe May Steal Another Election
Nico Colombant | Washington
Despite outside pressure, Zimbabwean activists and analysts fear long-time
President Robert Mugabe is trying to get away with stealing another
election. Activists say they want help before it is too late.
Zimbawean protesters have been holding monthly protests around the world
this year, such as one recently here in Washington, outside the South
South African President Jacob Zuma is the main mediator of the ongoing
political crisis in Zimbabwe, four years after an accord known as the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) was signed to ensure reforms and free and fair
A national unity government was set up, but protest organizer Den Moyo says
there has been no progress on reforms.
“We are saying Mr. Zuma as we stand here as Zimbabweans, we are calling upon
you to use the powers vested in you as the mediator of the GPA in Zimbabwe
to ensure that there is a road map to free and fair and indisputable
elections,” said Moyo.
One stipulation is that there must be constitutional change before the next
round of voting. The Africa director at the Wilson Center in Washington,
Steve McDonald, says President Mugabe is trying to get re-elected as soon as
possible, so he may try to convince South African mediators to change their
view on the need for constitutional reform.
“He wants to get beyond the power-sharing arrangement,” said McDonald. “He
is under pressure from the South Africans who have declared that they will
not recognize or work with him if the preparations for the election do not
precede it and the main thing there is the constitutional referendum.”
At recent celebrations marking 32 years of Zimbabwe’s independence and his
power, the 88-year-old president called on political parties to go beyond
the violence of recent elections.
“We must take absolute care and caution and ensure that the fights of
yesterday are buried in the past,” said Mugabe.
Mugabe has denied rigging previous elections. He has said he needs to stay
in power to correct the wrongs of previous white minority rule and ensure
the economic empowerment of Zimbabweans.
Back in Washington, Nyare Joe sang opposition protest songs. She said
Zimbabweans inside Zimbabwe are not free to question anything related to Mr.
Mugabe or his ZANU-PF party.
“I want everybody even in my country to be able to do anything, once it is a
free country,” said Joe. “Mugabe – now you cannot talk about the name of
Mugabe or you go to jail. You cannot even laugh when ZANU-PF is there, or
you go to jail.”
The protesters warned if there is not more pressure against President
Mugabe, he would remain in power as long as he is still alive, through
stalling tactics or rigged and violent elections.
Efforts to reform the constitution have gone slowly, while no date has been
set for the looming presidential and legislative election
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