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article imageZimbabwe Elections Down The Tubes? w/ update

By Gar Swaffar     Jun 22, 2008 in World
Morgan Tsvangirai is opting out of the election process in Zimbabwe. Death, beatings and total disruption of opposition to Robert Mugabe's autocratic rule makes it impossible to continue.
Morgan Tsvangirai the leader of the opposition party to Robert Mugabe's Zanu -PF party has chosen to pull out of the election run off race for President of Zimbabwe due to concerns about his supporters.
Increasingly Mugabe's Zanu -PF has targeted the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) through the military supporters of the Zanu -PF. Local MDC leaders have been killed, their families have been burned alive and political functions of the MDC have been disrupted by the Zanu PF thugs.
"Conditions as of today do not permit the holding of a credible poll," Tsvangirai said. "Given the totality of these circumstances, we believe a credible election is impossible. We can't ask the people to cast their vote on June 27 when that vote will cost their lives. We will no longer participate in this violent sham of an election."
The price to be paid for belonging to the opposition party can be rather steep.
The MDC no. 2 person Tendai Biti, was arrested within moments of returning from South Africa last week and is being held on charges of treason.
The penalty for treason in Zimbabwe can be a short trial and an even faster execution.
"It is evident that the Mugabe regime has disregarded regional and continental opinion that has been calling for an end to disruption of MDC election campaign programs, state sanctioned brutality, violence and harassment of the people of Zimbabwe," the opposition said in a statement.
This turn of events may send an already deepening economic downturn into a downward spiral Robert Mugabe will not be able to survive politically despite the use of terror tactics and his national police force to threaten the populace with beatings, and even death by fire.
Elections in some parts of the world give an entirely new meaning to the word sacrifice.
A video link to the announcement is here
(Yahoo is providing a moving target for the video, click on the Tsvangirai video thumnail.)
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Morgan Tsvangirai has now fled to the Dutch Embassy in the capitol sity of Harare Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai made the move to the embassy after his election headquarters was raided and more than sixty women children and a few men were seized and removed by the Zimbabwe Gestapo of Mugabe.
Tsvangirai felt he was soon to be arrested again, and with the continuing violence against his supporters Tsvangirai stated he felt 'unsafe'.
Tsvangirai "asked if the Dutch Embassy could provide him with refuge because he was feeling unsafe," Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen of the Netherlands said. "We will do what we can to accommodate his stay in the embassy," he told the British Broadcasting Corp.
The Dutch are one of the countries which have no past colonial ties to Zimbabwe. And are viewed universally as neutral with a record of being involved in humanitarian aid on the continent.
Verhagen said Tsvangirai chose the Dutch Embassy because it had no colonial past with Zimbabwe, but had been a consistent supporter of human rights. He said he expected the Zimbabwean authorities to abide by international conventions that protect diplomats and their missions, which in this case included Tsvangirai as long as he was in the embassy.
That hope for international conventions to honored and followed may not play well with the Current dictator Robert Mugabe. Mugabe has publicly stated Tsvangirai will not take office while he (Mugabe) is alive. Mugabe has also made public statements of his intention to in essence rule for life.
As long as Tsvangirai is alive, that rule is threatened by what many have suggested was an election rigged to allow Mugabe enough votes to force a runoff election. The tactic of holding the ballots for more than thirty days after the election before suggesting there would need to be a runoff election appeared to fuel the accusations of voter fraud. The voter intimidation which took place before and during the prior voting process was also blamed on the Mugabe Gestapo Thugs.
Despite all of the threats, disruptions and general mayhem, the voter turnout was much larger than had been expected.
More about Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe, Elections
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