Mugabe: Election loss a “coup”

posted at 10:22 am on March 30, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Robert Mugabe appears to have suffered a landslide loss in Zimbabwe, but that may not stop him from seizing his opponents and keeping his grip on power. While the opposition MDC celebrated sweeping victories all across the starving nation, Mugabe warned that any declarations of victory amounted to a “coup”. His security services would react swiftly to any such action, Mugabe promised:

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party has claimed an overwhelming victory in the country’s general election, prompting a warning from President Robert Mugabe’s camp that the early declaration amounted to an attempted coup.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) defied a ban on pre-empting poll results to say it had secured nearly all parliamentary seats in the two biggest cities, and was the certain winner of the election. …

George Charamba, Mr Mugabe’s spokesman, said the party would treat any announcement by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai that he was now the rightful president as tantamount to a coup.

“He (Mr Tsvangirai) announces results, declares himself and the MDC winner and then what? Declare himself president of Zimbabwe? It is called a coup d’etat and we all know how coups are handled,” he said.

We know how elections get handled in Zimbabwe. Regardless of actual outcome, Mugabe wins. The MDC waited for Mugabe’s government to announce the results the last time elections were held and watched as Mugabe stole them. This time, they vowed not to let Mugabe do it to them again. They announced the results themselves in an attempt to force Mugabe to explain disparities from the first moment.

Mugabe had other methods in place as well. Government forces turned away large numbers of people from the polls, claiming identification mismatches as a means to depress turnout. It didn’t work; Zimbabweans swarmed to the voting booth, enraged by 150,000% inflation and the utter collapse of their once-vibrant agricultural sector. Even his own home village of Zvimba has had enough of Mugabe, now that the economic crisis has hit there and the freebies have stopped arriving.

Mugabe will likely attempt to use his security forces to block the MDC from taking their seats in Parliament and ending his presidency. They may follow his lead, but even his goons have to see the writing on the wall. The longer they prop Mugabe in power, the more of them will go up against the wall when he dies or the Zimbabwean people rip him from office. This result shows that the nation has enough anger and frustration to start a massive, grass-roots uprising if they see another election get stolen — and maybe Mugabe’s friends would do best to start considering a golden parachute now rather than later.

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Zimbabwe’s main opposition party has claimed an overwhelming victory in the country’s general election, prompting a warning from President Robert Mugabe’s camp that the early declaration amounted to an attempted coup.

Sounds like Hillary.

All joking aside, there’s nothing like snatching victory from defeat. Another instance of free speech being okay, as long as it’s not against you.

Tennessee Dave on March 30, 2008 at 10:29 AM

I’m sure the UN and the American liberal community will help.

*crickets*

PattyJ on March 30, 2008 at 10:33 AM

and maybe Mugabe’s friends would do best to start considering a golden parachute now rather than later.

I hope there is a peaceful outcome. Africa has seen more than it’s share blood shed these last few decades. What I would hate to see now would be for that democrap idiot, Jimmy Carter, to show up over there to gum it up.

Zorro on March 30, 2008 at 10:33 AM

“Peaceful outcome”? Nah!

It’s Zimbabwe, you know…

newton on March 30, 2008 at 10:43 AM

Government forces turned away large numbers of people from the polls, claiming identification mismatches as a means to depress turnout.

I was in Zimbabwe for the summer of 2001, and one of the thins I learned was that people often have to get new IDs with inaccurate information. For example, if you have to repeat a grade of school, you have to get a new ID stating that you are actually one year younger than you are, because it is illegal to be the wrong age in the wrong grade, apparently.

While I’m sure that Mugabe is turning people away regardless, I wonder how many Africans are being turned away for “identification mismatches” who actually think that is correct, because they’ve had to change their ID for some strange governmental reason.

its vintage duh on March 30, 2008 at 10:44 AM

sounds like Hillary.

All joking aside, there’s nothing like snatching victory from defeat. Another instance of free speech being okay, as long as it’s not against you.

Tennessee Dave on March 30, 2008 at 10:29 AM

TNDave - You racist. Don’t you know that it sounds like Rev. J-Wright./sarc off

Seriously, may the bloodshed not occur and may Zimbabweens (sp?) have peace and freedom and be Mugabe-free

Branch Rickey on March 30, 2008 at 10:50 AM

Reminds me of Nicolae Ceauşescu. Let’s hope.

JiangxiDad on March 30, 2008 at 10:51 AM

There will be bloodshed, and this has been proven over and again throughout history as brutal dictators fall so does the blood of tyrants and patriots..

Viper1 on March 30, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Zimbabwe is a prime example of liberal thought gone to the state they desire. If the bonehead carter had not interfered in the first election after Ian Smith gave up the ghost, Rhodesia may have translated into a vibrant country. Now we have the evidence that “electing” someone because they “deserve” it (even thought they are a rank terr) is always a bad move. Thanks international coummunity – another failed African state the US has to help clean up.

Colonel_prop on March 30, 2008 at 11:00 AM

And the clock ticks closer to Mugabe being placed against the wall in front of a rifle squad, or standing on a trap door with a nice new 13 loop necklace.

The only question that remains is exactly which, when, and how many of his countrymen will lose their lives in the process.

Here’s hoping the answer is either, soon, and none.

Wind Rider on March 30, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Carter’s final legacy. Civil war in Zimbabwe, Chavez in Venezuela, Chinese operation of the Panama canal, Iran becoming a theocracy. Did I miss anything? :)

a capella on March 30, 2008 at 11:12 AM

Note that Mugabe is correct on the philosophical point.

An election is a coup. That’s the whole point. Democracy allows the people to Turn the Bastards Out in an orderly fashion, without having to resort to all that messy guns and guillotines stuff.

Regards,
Ric

warlocketx on March 30, 2008 at 11:17 AM

Mugabe’s only hope is to flash the Jim Signal into the sky and pray that Jimmy Carter and his Band of International Elections Supervisors shows up in time to thwart the will of the ignorant masses.

29Victor on March 30, 2008 at 11:20 AM

The people of Zimbabwe voted for Mugabe. They got exactly what they asked for and what they deserved.

“Land Redistribution” was wildly popular amongst the black majority in the country until they realised that they had no idea how to run the farms that underpinned their economy.

They are now reaping what they have sewn.

Ares on March 30, 2008 at 11:20 AM

“Be a man among men”-slogan of the Rhodesian Army.
I say bring back the Selous Scouts! They would square things away.

k2comp on March 30, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Send in Al Gore and the chad counters….

Wade on March 30, 2008 at 12:00 PM

Carter’s final legacy. Civil war in Zimbabwe, Chavez in Venezuela, Chinese operation of the Panama canal, Iran becoming a theocracy. Did I miss anything? :)

a capella on March 30, 2008 at 11:12 AM

Chris Matthews

Branch Rickey on March 30, 2008 at 12:06 PM

Mugabe probably has most if not all the guns, and South Africa just adopted a land seizure program similar to his.

In the famine, he hasn’t missed a meal nor have his cronies.

If dethroned, he will have plenty of places to go and I suspect plenty of money when he gets there.

The question is whether the new government can be any more skilled in running the country properly. Without a running economy, nothing else can be done to raise living standards. This is why perfect socialism results in a sharing of poverty, not wealth.

Harry Schell on March 30, 2008 at 12:10 PM

And South Africa will follow along as well in the path of Rhodesia.

The old British commonwealth used to provide men to stop the spread of totalitarian rule. We as Americans must remain the last vestige of people who look to the freedom of man to be our governing principles. The English now have a navy smaller than France (and a huge homegrown terror problem), there just aren’t enough of the ANZACS around, and the old RSA and Rhodesian fighting men have scattered to the four winds.

As the beast has risen in the east – islamofascism, will we, the American people chose to stand for liberty and life in the 21st century? Or will we elect to revert to the middle ages and feudalism.

Colonel_prop on March 30, 2008 at 12:43 PM

Mugabe: Election loss a “coup”

I really don’t consider it a coup when you have 150,000 percent inflation. I would call that “change”. Sound familiar?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on March 30, 2008 at 1:10 PM

And South Africa will follow along as well in the path of Rhodesia.
The old British commonwealth used to provide men to stop the spread of totalitarian rule. We as Americans must remain the last vestige of people who look to the freedom of man to be our governing principles. The English now have a navy smaller than France (and a huge homegrown terror problem), there just aren’t enough of the ANZACS around, and the old RSA and Rhodesian fighting men have scattered to the four winds.
As the beast has risen in the east – islamofascism, will we, the American people chose to stand for liberty and life in the 21st century? Or will we elect to revert to the middle ages and feudalism.
Colonel_prop on March 30, 2008 at 12:43 PM

I agree Colonel, but I don’t think the kids these days are into such a prophetic style in argument. Perhaps, it would be best to detail what muslims do:

kill Christians for repairing a church
kill women because someone suspects them of talking to man
kill gays just for being gay
kill artists for blasphemy
kill jews just for being jews
kill dogs just for being dogs
whipping people for walking their dog
whipping women for showing their ankle

The specific charges are harder to ignore, than the “Islamofascism” scare-word.

For better propaganda!

thuja on March 30, 2008 at 1:40 PM

Too depressing, apart from the part about Mugabe up against the wall.

I wish someone in Africa could get it right for just one generation – a new generation raised with the option to live well enough and make the right decisions could break the cycle, or at least I hope it could.

Too much suffering.

Merovign on March 30, 2008 at 1:46 PM

Whatever will the UN do without their chair of Economic Development? Clearly the only proper course for a right-thinking UN diplomat is to put Mugabe on the Human Rights Commission. Preferably as chairman.

BKennedy on March 30, 2008 at 1:49 PM

Of course the victory claims are premature…Mugabe and his election team haven’t even finished printing up the ballots yet (probably got off to a late start because they were still printing money)

Blaise on March 30, 2008 at 1:53 PM

…and maybe Mugabe’s friends would do best to start considering a golden parachute now rather than later.

I recommend treachery:

A seemingly neutral and disinterested third party country is ginned up to give Mugabe a face-and-neck-saving escape from Zimbabwe, the opposition takes over, and when the transfer of power is peacefully completed, they send Mugabe back to be tried for murder and the embezzlement of pretty much the entire country, and hang him by the neck until he is dead. His family and criminal associates are hunted down, and the stolen loot is returned to the country, after which they are granted amnesty.

That’s how these things are supposed to be done.

Jaibones on March 30, 2008 at 1:57 PM

I heard on the CBC yesterday that the opposition declared victory based on early exit polls, before the country-side voters, who are usually pro-Mugabe, have voted. That’s why the pissy reaction from teh gr8 economist.

AlexB on March 30, 2008 at 2:06 PM

Carter’s final legacy. Civil war in Zimbabwe, Chavez in Venezuela, Chinese operation of the Panama canal, Iran becoming a theocracy. Did I miss anything? :)

a capella on March 30, 2008 at 11:12 AM

Alot actually

Add abandoning the Shah, Giving Nicarauga up to the Sandinistas (1979), Saddam came to power (1979), Russian invasion of afganistan, Crackdown on solidarity in Poland, Removal of Bhutto in Pakistan (father not daughter) and replaced by Islamic thug Zia al Haq and start of Pakistani nukes and some others Im forgetting right now.

William Amos on March 30, 2008 at 2:12 PM

MUGABE CLAIMS VICTORY: Coup de villain.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on March 30, 2008 at 2:52 PM

Ares wrote: “Land Redistribution” was wildly popular amongst the black majority in the country until they realized that they had no idea how to run the farms that underpinned their economy.

Correct to a point. The workers and foreman that ran the farms were considered what in the US are called Uncle Toms. They were run off of the farms or killed, as were the whites, by the NoKo trained military and the new owners, who were in large part Mugabe cronies. Another country economically destroyed because of irrational policies and dictatorial rule. The government even turned away corn supplied by the US through the UN for their starving population. Meanwhile in the European capitals Mugabe was treated to state visits and publicly with respect.

I sometimes wonder and cringe at the thought of what happened to those 64 men, mainly Angolans, South Africans and Namibians, who were arrested in the Zimbabwean capital in 2004 after arriving on a Boeing 727 to supposedly overthrow Mugabe.

We can’t police the entire world, but the West certainly acts pathetically as we ignore events that should cause us to remember the Never Again cry after the Holocaust. Who will be there to help us when they come for us?

amr on March 30, 2008 at 2:54 PM

I am repeating others here, but this is indeed the Carter legacy. However he could redeem himself by jumping on a plan and flying to Zimbabwe TODAY to work things out. He could take Mrs. Clinton with him since she is so deft at dealing with these types of situations.

JonRoss on March 30, 2008 at 3:15 PM

The problem with dictators is that they refuse to acknowledge the past when it comes to the history of dictatorships, because Mugabe should be afraid-very afraid.

Time and again, history has shown that there is a point when a subjugated population says enough is enough and takes drastic measures to rid themselves of the dictator.

Mugabs is Africa’s Pol Pot as he has a distorted idea of how his country and its population should be constructed.

Mugabe’s time is running out. He can either bow out gracefully or risk death Nicolae Ceausescu style.

pocomoco on March 30, 2008 at 3:50 PM

Mugabe’s time is running out. He can either bow out gracefully or risk death Nicolae Ceausescu style.

Personally, I prefer the hemp cravat. Televised, if possible. Of course, liberal do-gooders, the folks mark Twain so aptly described as having the “permanently impaired and leaky water works,” miss the point of executing killers. New neck-ties for kleptocrats like Mugabe seems like a good plan. He can go join Ceausescu, Pol Pot, Che, and a host of others in Hell.

The real challenge is how to get Zimbabwe back onto some semblance of economic and political stability without a blood bath if possible.

Orson Buggeigh on March 31, 2008 at 12:44 AM

The Economist had a great comic on this. Mugabe was up on a pulpit, shouting (well, I can’t remember the exact words, but it amounts to this):

“I gave you rampant corruption!
I gave you 100,000% inflation!
I gave you international pariah status!
You should re-elect me, my countrymen…
Because no man has given more to Zimbabwe!”

That said, just because Mugabe’s an election-stealing bigot doesn’t mean the MDC is pure as the driven snow (it’s Africa, after all, they don’t get that sort of thing). What’s their history, and can we be sure that these pre-emptive declarations are in fact correct?

Math_Mage on March 31, 2008 at 3:07 AM