The coming runoff election in Zimbabwe is already a farce even before the first ballot is cast. President Mugabe’s wife has publicly declared her husband will never surrender power to the Movement for Democratic Change and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Gorden Moyo, a Zimbabwean civil rights leader states bluntly “Mugabe will not transfer power to the winner.” Several issues arise from the present scenario in which Mugabe is going through the motions of a free election as well as using violence and death to opponents. This may result in a “victory” before voting begins. No one knows if the violence will escalate or is there even the possibility of violence to Tsvangerai which would ensure victory to the incumbent.
One tragedy of the situation in Zimbabwe has been failure on the part of South African president Mbeki to take a strong stand with his life long friend and exert pressure to ensure a free vote. Mbeki has remained silent even as thousands of Zimbabweans are driving from their home. Of course, one result of this silence is the presence of over two million Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa whose presence has sparked xenophobic outbreaks of violence against foreigners.