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Blog Posted in avatar   Donna Murphy's Blog

Zimbabwe, is anyone watching?

By Donna Murphy
Posted Mar 22, 2011 in Politics
While the world is engaged in the disaster in Japan and trying to sort out the extremely complicated situation in the Middle East. One of our more astute characters is probably about to take advantage of the situation.
Robert Mugabe, never one to miss an opportunity, looks very likely to hold a general election. Since being swept into power in the first multi-racial elections in 1980,(which was somewhat understandable, as we all believed that inclusion was the only right thing to do) it has been evident that Mugabe was more a believer in power than a fairer country.
Even in the 2005 election, roundly criticised by the International Monitors to be flawed, he managed to regain power and carried on regardless. By 2003, inflation had risen to 300% and in 2004, the IMF estimated the country had become substantially poorer over the previous five years.
Implementing policies that had more to do with retaining his power base and it would seem nothing to do with moving his country forward, by 2008, he had managed to raise inflation to the incredible 231,000,000%, meaning that the Zimbabwean dollar became practically worthless.
It is little wonder, at this point, there were calls for another election and this time the Movement for Democratic Change, lead by Morgan Tsvangirai put up a good fight against Zanu PF and four days after the ballot had closed, declared his party had won albeit by a slim majority. Mugabe refused to accept this, on the grounds that the count was not yet complete. Finally, the result released on May 2, gave the M.D.C 47.9% and Zanu PF 45.2%. Mugabe then insisted that there be a run off because no one party had 50 % .
We were then treated to a vote for the position of President, once again Mugabe won this, even though no one thought the vote was free or fair. The U.S.A. at this point wanted sanctions against the country but was blocked by both China and Russia. This did however, and I am not sure why, start discussions between Mugabe and Tsvangiriai which finally led to a power sharing agreement.
Zimbabwe has stumbled along since then, no side agreeing on anything, Mugabe, having kept the Ministry of Home Affairs, a powerful department that basically runs the country and more importantly includes the control of the police, has not allowed Tsvangirai much room to implement any changes to benefit the people, he himself has said on many occasions that it may be power sharing on paper but it is just that.
Recent footage has shown Mugabe holding rallies, whilst saying that everything is to remain the same. History would beg to differ. He has held on to power and right now he has a perfect opportunity to continue doing so, even getting rid of the power sharing agreement he despises and ignores for the most part. He can see that the world is occupied with other events.
Zimbabwe, a country just getting over a cholera epidemic, no health system, raging inflation, low life expectancy, empty shops and rampant unemployment is being run into the ground while the world does nothing. Mugabe, having held on to power this long is unlikely to miss this opportunity to take back total control. We, the world, has done very little to try and help the people for the last twenty years and with everything going on now, I see little likelihood that this would change if there was an election.
If he is once again voted into power, I see very little chance that the country will become the vibrant country that it could be, Why does the world ignore this country which has so much potential and could offer the world so much? The cynical amongst us would like to know what Zimbabwe has to discover which would wake the world up and do something to change one of the worst and most unfairly run countries in the world.