Robert Mugabe has a secret, and he wants to protect his nation by keeping it to himself and his closest henchmen friends. According to the attorney from Mugabe’s election commission, that secret could create dangerous “exigencies” that the government could not control. The secret, of course, isn’t hard to deduce:

A lawyer for Zimbabwe’s electoral commission said on Wednesday it would be “dangerous” for the High Court to order the release of presidential election results, as demanded by the opposition MDC.

The Movement for Democratic Change has gone to court to try to force out the result of the March 29 vote, saying its leader Morgan Tsvangirai has won and should be declared president, ending the 28-year rule of President Robert Mugabe. …

George Chikumbirike, a lawyer for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, told judge Tendai Uchena: “It would be dangerous in my view to give an order because it might not be complied with … because of outside exigencies which the party (ZEC) will be unable to control.”

The big secret? Mugabe lost, and lost by a large enough margin to make a runoff unnecessary. The only reason Mugabe would want to keep the results quiet is if he didn’t qualify for the second round, and if he couldn’t cook the results enough to moderate the loss. In this, the MDC wisely took photographic evidence of the vote tallies at each polling station, which got publicly displayed at the end of the election process. That has checkmated Mugabe’s efforts to generate numbers out of whole cloth.

No other explanation makes sense. Why have a national election, and then claim that the results are confidential? An election is the least confidential action government can take — at least in a free nation where the election isn’t just a circus act by a desperate dictator. Even his allies in South Africa have started questioning what Mugabe is trying to do.

The danger is all for Mugabe. If he releases the actual results, he’ll have to find the next flight out of Zimbabwe. If he gives out bogus results, the MDC will publish its documentary evidence and start a putsch that will likely end with Mugabe at the end of a rope. It’s a matter of whether Mugabe will accept his removal from power or if he wants to take a lot of people with him on the way out.