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Democracy too good for Africans?

WE had always suspected that the African leaders in the Commonwealth troika on Zimbabwe have a somewhat biased concept of democracy.

So it came as no surprise whe

n a democratically-elected (100% in some constituencies) Olusegun Obasanjo said Robert Mugabe was a duly elected president of Zimbabwe.

Our suspicions that the mandate given to them to monitor the Zimbabwean situation was misconstrued by them to mean copy the act is well-founded.

Duly elected alright!

The violence in the run-up to the election counts for nought. After all, only opposition supporters were the targets;

The barring and disappearance of opposition polling agents is of no significance;

The blatant cowing of the judiciary by both Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Chinamasa into preventing the extension of the polling days in Harare whose population is mostly MDC supporters was of no consequence;

The fact that the main opposition could not campaign in designated “no go” areas meant nothing; and,

For the rest, the dossier will be there in court.

If Mugabe is so sure that he was democratically-elected, then what’s preventing a rerun of the election under an independent electoral supervisory commission? Independent not just on paper like the constitutional commission but a body that can prove its mettle.

I urge the MDC not to sell us out to the Zanu PF crooks by giving up the election petition in the courts. Should there be any talks then the desired outcome should be a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. What is not acceptable is wholesale pardoning of crimes without disclosure and repentance as happened in the 1980s. The gravity of the crimes is also very different. It is also important to set a good precedent. This will serve to safeguard future generations from would-be genocidal leaders.

As for African leaders, they hold Africans in low esteem. They believe that less-than-perfect conditions should be set for us because we are children of a lesser god and democracy is too good for us.

It is not up to Morgan Tsvangirai to drop the election petition. It is up to the people whose vote was denied because it is they whose verdict was compromised by the actions of the government. Should the question arise whether or not to legitimise the election, it is the people’s decision that should carry the day and that is why a referendum is the only verdict permissible.

What remains is the test of character of the judiciary in the current litigation by the MDC. In any case it can only be a victory for us because the truth will come out whatever the outcome.

My only wish is that the judiciary understands the gravity of the task at hand because it is not acceptable that the country be run by a fraudster (if that is the outcome) a year after the election.

Mugabe will remain adamant that the election petition is the stumbling block to inter-party dialogue. Well, that is as it should be. Remember he is a principled man against people’s rights. The MDC should insist for its part as a precondition that the government drop the frivolous high treason charges whose aim is to impose the same sanctions on the MDC leader that top government officials endure from the EU, Britain and the United States.

Finally, I must say to Thabo Mbeki that as long as he is finding it easy to ride against the ever-growing tide of resentment against Mugabe, chances are he is becoming a dictator. (One who dictates against the majority.) As for Bakili Muluzi, he has already said he is a good dictator.

S Dube,


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