Zimbabwe election results still baking

posted at 7:40 am on March 31, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The government of Zimbabwe has yet to release most of the results from its weekend election, prompting most people to believe that Robert Mugabe is cooking the numbers. The small number of official results show one of Mugabe’s allies losing his parliamentary seat, but otherwise the vote totals released show Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party keeping pace with the opposition MDC. If that continues, Mugabe may face an uprising from Zimbabweans who clearly turned out in force to turn Mugabe out just short of force:

Zimbabwe’s justice minister lost his seat on Monday and first election results showed the opposition level with President Robert Mugabe’s party, but counting delays fuelled opposition suspicions of rigging.

Results of the parliamentary election began trickling out on Monday, 36 hours after polls closed, but no official details were available on the presidential vote, in which Mugabe faces his most formidable political challenge of 28 years in power.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said that unofficial tallies showed its leader Morgan Tsvangirai had 60 percent of the presidential vote, twice the total for Mugabe, with more than half the results counted.

Mugabe, 84, faces unprecedented pressure because of Zimbabwe’s economic collapse and a two-pronged attack by veteran rival Tsvangirai and ZANU-PF defector Simba Makoni.

Latest official results showed the opposition MDC and Mugabe’s ZANU-PF running neck-and-neck, with 12 seats each from a total parliament of 210 constituencies.

None of this is unexpected. Mugabe hung onto power after the last election by rigging the numbers in his favor. In 2005, he faced the same opponent, and won a bare majority in Parliament even with the manipulations he used then. Election observers noted the presence of a large number of “ghost voters” on the rolls in that election.

Mugabe promised constitutional changes and an improvement in Zimbabwe’s economy in that election, and delivered an economic collapse through statist diktats. He needs more than ghost voters in this election; he’ll need every gun he can find to keep Zimbabwe from rising up against him if he tries cooking this election. Zimbabwe can’t survive another three years under his direction. They probably can’t survive another three months without a serious change in direction.

If Zimbabweans cannot change that direction at the ballot box, expect them to look for other options. Desperation will keep them from accepting a rigged election as quietly as they did in 2005.

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A close friend is a missionary to Zimbabwe. He opted to stay home for Easter since the chance of Americans getting their throat slashed during this long election cycle are real.

This type of election drama is exactly what the founders of this country tried to avoid, and is exactly what the Sharptons and Wrights would like to introduce.

Hening on March 31, 2008 at 7:53 AM

A close friend is a missionary to Zimbabwe

What’s the mission? Seems like things never change.

There’s democracy and socialism and communism, and christianity and Islam and atheism.

Why wouldn’t Africans know what their choices are as well as anyone else? It’s 2008.

JiangxiDad on March 31, 2008 at 7:59 AM

This type of election drama is exactly what the founders of this country tried to avoid, and is exactly what the Sharptons and Wrights would like to introduce.

Hening on March 31, 2008 at 7:53 AM

funky chicken on March 31, 2008 at 8:03 AM

Mugabe’s crew has probably run out of tombstones to read for names for enough voter to save his rear.

The key here is the military; they need to realize that things are just untenable with Mugabe and ‘usher’ him out of power, then back the real winner between the two opposition candidates. They themselves will be better off if they do that.

michaelo on March 31, 2008 at 8:33 AM

Zimbabwe’s situation is a crime against Humanity. Robert Mugabe’s first election was considered a Good Thing, until his personal meglomania, Socialist thought patterns and criminal activity came to the fore.

Problem is, even if Mugabe was overthrown by a coup, the economy will take years to recover. Most, if not all, of the educated people left decades ago and the education system is, if anything, worse than the economy. Has anyone even heard of a post-Mugabe plan for Zimbabwe?

SeniorD on March 31, 2008 at 9:41 AM

A man has no representation and he with the most guns runs the streets. Now where have I heard this story before? God help em if it comes to that but sometimes you just gotta do what ya gotta do.

Limerick on March 31, 2008 at 10:46 AM

Any government is more than the one person who holds the titular lead position of that government. The chances that the next president of Zimbabwe will be any better than Mugabe is near zero. All of Mugabe’s government has to go, before it will get any better.

rockhauler on March 31, 2008 at 11:24 AM

What’s the mission? Seems like things never change.
JiangxiDad on March 31, 2008 at 7:59 AM

He heads up a mission service that provides food for orphans along with getting folks back in the USA to sponsor children and help with their medical bills, education and clothing. It’s a small group where one hundred percent of all of the donations benefit the people in Zimbawe. They also provide missionaries in Africa with bicycles in order to travel village to village where there are no real roadways and provide medical services.

Hening on March 31, 2008 at 12:04 PM

It goes to a run off election for the leadership. That is why the opposition is so calm. Thy know they will win the run off.

lexhamfox on March 31, 2008 at 2:22 PM