As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Daylight In Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe's rule, in Parliament at least, is over.

HARARE, Zimbabwe - President Robert Mugabe's long-ruling party lost its parliamentary majority Wednesday, bolstering opposition claims that impoverished Zimbabweans voted for change in this struggling southern African nation.

The opposition also claimed victory for leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Saturday's presidential vote, but the state-controlled newspaper predicted a runoff — the first official admission that Mugabe, the nation's autocratic leader of 28 years, had not won re-election.

The Movement for Democratic Change expressed confidence Tsvangirai could win a runoff with an even larger margin, but there were fears an embattled Mugabe would roll out every weapon in his considerable political and government arsenal to stay in power.

They ought to be afraid of that. Tsvangirai probably won handily in the first round, and would be President right now if it weren't for intimidation tactics like withholding food aid unless citizens vote for Mugabe. Tsvangirai has to move very delicately on this one. He's putting a lot of pressure on Mugabe to concede but I don't think a guy who basically ran the country as a dictator for three decades is likely to do that.

But the fact of a non-ZANU Parliament alone is pretty remarkable, and it's mainly due to electoral reforms demanded by the international community. Maybe the horrors of Zimbabwe are nearing the end.

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