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Saturday, June 28, 2008

One Man Election in Zimbabwe

Mugabe and Pak Lah - The Blues Brothers

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Widespread voter intimidation and low turnout marked Zimbabwe’s one-candidate presidential runoff Friday, further damaging the vote designed to bolster longtime President Robert Mugabe’s credibility.

Residents said they were forced to vote, threatened by violence, arson or roving bands of government supporters searching for those without an ink-stained finger.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who withdrew from the runoff citing a campaign of state-sponsored violence, said the results would “reflect only the fear of the people.”

“What is happening today is not an election. It is an exercise in mass intimidation,” he said at a news conference.

Dozens of opposition supporters have been killed and thousands of people injured prior to Friday’s vote, which is expected only to deepen the nation’s political and economic crisis.

Fear and intimidation contrasted with the excitement and hope for change that marked the first round of voting in March. Reporters and independent observers saw low turnout Friday. As polls closed at 7 p.m., officials at one Harare station said they hadn’t seen a voter for several hours.

Voting to be safe

Paramilitary police in riot gear deployed in a central Harare park, then began patrolling the city. Militant Mugabe supporters roamed the streets, singing revolutionary songs, heckling people and asking why they were not voting.

“I’ve got no option but to go and vote so that I can be safe,” explained a young woman selling tomatoes.

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Jake Mugabe

Elwood Badawi

The whole world is eying on Zimbabwe’s one man election day where as it seem to be a deadly poll for the people. “We have to vote to be safe” said a voter. The democracy policy was raped as Mugabe used intimidation to warn his opposition. Last few weeks, he told the people that there might be civil war if opposition leaders continue their campaign. What makes Mugabe that strong? Mugabe is supported by regime as it is normal political scenario in Africa. In fact, during the Congo civil war, Mugabe has sent his troop to support the regime.

Mugabe was blamed for Zimbabwe's participation in the Second Congo War in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At a time when the Zimbabwean economy was struggling, Zimbabwe responded to a call by the Southern African Development Community to help the struggling regime in Kinshasa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo had been invaded by Rwanda and Uganda, both of which claimed that their civilians, and regional stability, were under constant threat of attack by various terrorist groups based in the Congo.However, the Congolese government, as well as international commentators, charged that the motive for the invasion was to grab the rich mineral resources of eastern Congo.The war raised accusations of corruption, with officials alleged to be plundering the Congo's mineral reserves. Mugabe's defence minister Moven Mahachi said, "Instead of our army in the DRC burdening the treasury for more resources, which are not available, it embarks on viable projects for the sake of generating the necessary revenue". More references here…

The way democracy is practice in Malaysia and Zimbabwe is similar. There are two way to get support from the people. One is through intimidation, and another one is through money or any form of persuasion. As for Mugabe, gun is used in his political campaign but Malaysia uses money and title to get in the politic arena. Last few weeks, SAPP was intimidated with disciplinary action towards Yong Teck Lee and his clans. It was said that he was offered a “senator” post to get him in the Barisan Nasional dacing in order to make it balance. This few days we see the “government” is doing general cleaning in Sabah regarding on the illegal immigrant issue. Why only now? I believe that UMNO has enough support from “Project IC” which was launched legally by the “government”. “Now everybody can stay” is the best idiom to those who have IMM13 document though they are making money as a refugee.

Pak Lah should accept the no-confidence vote from SAPP as a motivation to lead Malaysia as whole. Hence, he should react by resigning from his post since Barisan Nasional has lost 5 states during the political tsunami. He failed to ensure the economic stability of the country. That is why we should never ask an art graduate to do accounting because money will go to somewhere else. The re-structure of oil subsidy is just to reduce the small group of diesel smuggler instead of to help the people with RM 150.00 fuel rebate per year. Fortunately, this is an under control country where there is no permit to be given for peace assembly or else some may get wet with by chemical water canon.

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