More pressure

2008-04-08 00:00

THE delay in announcing the results of the presidential election in Zimbabwe is hugely suspicious. If President Robert Mugabe had won, there is no doubt that the outcome would have been made public a week ago. Clearly he has not.

Last week African presidents were congratulating themselves on the democratic outcome when the parliamentary results giving a majority to the MDC were announced. In fact, it was impossible to “fix” those figures because, thanks to the ingenuity of the democratic forces, the tallies of votes at every polling station had been smsed to a control centre outside the country.

But there seems little condemnation of what appears to be presidential skullduggery. How much pressure is there behind the scenes on Mugabe this week? President Thabo Mbeki urges instead that a run-off election take place.

The Nationalist government in South Africa was hardly a paragon of democratic virtue, but it was pragmatic enough to pull the plug on Ian Smith in 1980 to allow the will of the people of Zimbabwe to prevail. It is both ironic and tragic that South African’s present democratic government does not put similar pressure on a worse tyrant than Smith ever was.

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