Robert Mugabe has demonstrated yet again his commitment to free and open elections by having his opponents arrested while campaigning against him. Zimbabwe police detained Morgan Tsvangirai and his entourage, not long after Tsvingarai agreed to return to Zimbabwe to contest the run-off election on June 27th. It follows the arrest of another MDC opponent whose crime was to write an op-ed piece critical of Mugabe:

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and several of his top lieutenants were detained by police on Wednesday in the approach to a key run-off presidential election on June 27, his party said.

“He has been taken into a charge office in Lupane,” southwestern Zimbabwe, chief Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Nelson Chamisa told AFP.

“It’s the whole entourage of the president, including his security personnel and other senior party officials.”

Others arrested included the party’s deputy leader Thokozani Khupe and MDC chairman Lovemore Moyo.

“They have not given us any reason for the arrest,” added Chamisa. “The police just said our bosses want to see you.”

This does not include the four MDC members of Zimbabwe’s parliament who have also been arrested over the last few weeks. The police and the Mugabe regime have mostly kept the MDC from holding rallies in this campaign, and managed to keep Tsvangirai from addressing the few the opposition party has held. Nor is that the extent of Mugabe’s paranoia. He has ordered three international aid agencies that provide food and medicine for desperate Zimbabweans to cease operations for supposedly campaigning for the MDC.

Mugabe himself is in Rome today, demanding more assistance while rejecting any sense of accountability. He claims the MDC is a proxy for the colonial powers to re-establish their control over Zimbabwe. Mugabe tosses out aid agencies while demanding more aid — and yet no one thinks to kick him out of the UN food agency summit for doing so.

We can expect the run-off results to re-elect Robert Mugabe regardless of whatever the votes actually indicate. Mugabe knows the weak sisters and appeasers that surround him in Africa and elsewhere in the world, and know that they will never openly challenge him and his legitimacy in office. He can rig all of the elections he wants and lay waste to the continent’s best farmlands, bringing seven-figure inflation and starvation to his country, and apologists like Thabo Mbeki of South Africa will sit quietly and do nothing. The UN will invite him to conferences rather than stand up to his tyranny and thuggishness.

If multilateral organizations like the UN and SADC do nothing about Mugabe, why do they exist at all?