Distracted World Allows Dictator to Steal Another Election
(Sunday evening: updated)
What a lucky break for Zimbabwe's brutal, racist thug Robert Mugabe: while the world's focus has been on the Pope's health and Terri Schiavo's starvation death, he just stole another election, Washington state-style.
He's done it so well, with so little international condemnation, that he's poised to change the Zimbabwean constitution to let him hand-pick his successor without an election of any kind.
He needs, as of this hour, to steal just one more parliamentary seat to give him the necessary control to pull it off.
International observers and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), both say fraud was widespread, from turning away huge groups of opposition supporters at polling places to large numbers of "ghost voters" (probably flown in from Christine Gregoire headquarters in Seattle).
Conditions under Mugabe's violent, racist rule have deteriorated to the point where a once-vibrant economy is in ruins and the agriculture sector has been destroyed by the forced removal of white farmers, in the name of land redistribution.
Many have fled to South Africa in search of food and work.
Meanwhile, while the US, Britain and Germany have denounced the elections as fraudulent, South African President Thabo Mbeki and the (increasingly corrupt) African National Congress party have provided important support for Mugabe's corrupt regime, mostly through inaction and silence.
This despite the fact that large numbers of refugees from Zimbabwe have put a real strain on South African infrastructure, which isn't in a position to absorb millions of starving newcomers.
I'd like to put out a call to other bloggers who would like to join with me in a new Americans For Freedom in Zimbabwe blog alliance. The goal would be to raise awareness in the American media of this important issue and to put pressure on western governments, including the US, to do more to remove the tyrant Mugabe and his thugs from power.
If you are interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll need some help setting this up.
President Mugabe wants to change the constitution
So far the party has taken 69 of 120 contested seats, official results show - enough to guarantee Mr Mugabe's party control of the legislature.
The opposition, which has 35 seats so far, said "disgusting, massive fraud" had been committed in Thursday's polls.
Mr Mugabe is now just one seat short of a two-thirds majority needed to change the constitution, to enable him to install a successor without immediately calling elections, as presently required.
Sunday Update: Mugabe steals final necessary seat to rewrite constitution, cancel future elections and appoint successor. Will opposition party call for uprising?
Update: new National Review piece here.
Update: Several blogs are interested in joining our new Americans For Zimbabwe Freedom alliance. Are you?
Sunday night: regional observers claim election was fair despite overwhelming evidence from international monitors that it was rigged.
Sunday night: Opposition demanding new elections.