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Wednesday, 5 July, 2000, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
What future for Zimbabwe?
President Robert Mugabe's governing Zanu-PF party has gained a narrow victory in Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections. Yet the opposition Movement for Democratic Change can also claim a victory of sorts.
Election monitors gave the vote, and subsequent count, a clean bill of health. But they condemned the violence and intimidation by government supporters in the run-up to the poll.
So what now for Zimbabwe? Is this the end of the one-party state? What should president Mugabe do now?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
I can't take Mugabe seriously anymore. Let's face it, even Idiot Amin in a senile condition could run the country better. He should retire and take up something more suited to his abilities, burger flipper at Burger King might be suitable.
George Shire, United Kingdom
The Western Governments should withdraw ALL aid to Zimbabwe and the whites who still live there should leave, taking economic and agricultural knowledge with them......and then see how well Mugabe and his thugs rule this desperate country.
Virnet, St. Lucia
Given all the anti-Mugabe idiocy here, thank God Zanu-PF won the election. Mugabe is the only bulwark against another capitulation to white dominance in Africa. I hope he confiscates ALL the stolen white lands.
Why is the West prepared to negotiate with a man who takes pleasure out of nicknaming himself "Hitler" Hunzvi? I wonder if a politician in Europe, UK or America had such a name whether world leaders would be prepared to negotiate with such a government?
Apart from South Africa, Zimbabwe now has the ability to be a shining light in "colonial" Africa. Foreign powers should support the MDC, forget about political correctness and the country will have a chance to stop its decline. A vast majority of learned people can see what has happened to Zimbabwe over the years, and it is to his credit that Morgan Tsvingirai has managed to achieve the results he has under the conditions.
I think Zimbabwe has achieved what most African countries can't, which was to hold free and fair elections. I was, however, saddened by the media coverage of the elections as the international media seem to be waiting for civil war to break out so they can have more "exciting news" to cover.
Congratulations to a courageous and heroic people, I am so proud of you. Keep your heads held high and together anything is possible. Only by standing together in unity can we overcome this evil man. Let's forget the past, the differences, the anger and hatred. Let's move forward together and rebuild Zimbabwe back into the mighty and beautiful nation that she once was.
I voted for the MDC, why? I think the American and the British governments should work up from their deep slumber and give us those guns so that we remove this idiot from power. The people of Zimbabwe are prepared to to war to remove Mugabe especially the people of Matebeleland in particular.
Elections in Zimbabwe - what a farce as the killings and intimidation go on you could put this man alongside Stalin. Africa is a wonderful place and the people too but all too often it is destroyed by despots and gangsters terrorising the people and destroying the economy in the pursuit of self interest. Why do they do it to their own people and treat them like serfs and chattels.
I am sick and tired of the hypocritical rhetoric of Mugabe and his apologists. On the one hand, they say, "Give us money to finance our 'projects'" but on the other hand they say, "Mind your own business." They say "Give us money for land reform so that peasants will benefit" but when western donors or S. Africa say "Ok, so long as it benefits peasant farmers" and this causes Mugabe and his types to cry foul. They (the governing elite) want money with no strings attached. I am very pleased for my (US) govt to finance projects which benefit PEOPLE in developing countries but I DO NOT want my money to be used for Mugabe, his ministers and party hacks to buy more cars or villas!
Stop bleating about Robert Mugabe and the atrocities he has committed in Zimbabwe. After all it was the west - and Britain in particular - that handed the country to Mugabe on a plate and that have aided him ever since.
We Zimbabweans have been living under a minority dictatorship or near dictatorship for 35 years now. So far we have much better than most other African countries. I sincerely hope, the result of the recent elections clearly demonstrates things are turning around and will get better. But while Mugabe is in power one can not be so certain about the future because he is highly unpredictable - sounding like a statesman one moment and turning into a ranting autocrat the next.
Nothing has been achieved. With diabolical cunning the vote was manipulated into an impasse. We as farmers live on the farms with the people at our gates, and beating on the doors. Let them take the land as soon as possible, so as to resolve the issue once and for all. Starving is such fun.
I am constantly amazed at the ineptness of the African nations. Politically unsound and socially backward, isn't it about time that they actually asked for help?
Congratulations to all Zimbabweans for the political maturity they displayed. However, did it have to take this long for us to realise we needed an alternative to Zanu-PF. The strength of our future economy and livelihood is possible by ensuring we always voice our concerns through the ballot. Well done MDC.
Bring back Ian Smith. He wouldn't have stood for this nonsense. He was a good leader. A gentleman, in fact and he actually cared for his people.
Are the half of the Zimbabwean population who voted for MDC all "stooges of imperialists"? What kind of idiot rhetoric is that?
Steve W, UK
It's high time that Europe stopped telling developing countries what do. l think we are political mature now, as has been demonstrated in Zimbabwe's recent elections. They want everything to go their way, which is very unfair to other countries. Let Mugabe and Tsvangirai talk like brothers and reach a compromise.
Mugabe should be impeached and be put on trial for atrocities against humanity. Your contributor from Israel who applauds Mugabe should come and live here under our conditions of dire poverty, 70% inflation, no drugs, fuel shortages, unemployment and government-backed torture and murder into the bargain. His intimidation and terrorism in the rural areas has worked as planned - they have got the rural vote through fear and through more empty promises.
Mugabe's theft of white legally owned land has caused hardship not just for the whites but also for black workers. The moment the land is confiscated, it is allowed to go to ruin therefore depriving people of work and causing great economic hardship to the country as a whole.
Like any country which has fallen victim to dictatorship and one regime for over a decade or two, the characteristics are economic hardship, numerous sanctions to the extent that they need a wheelbarrow of native currency to buy a loaf of bread. Let's sit back and watch Zimbabwe become just like the Democratic Republic of Congo during Mobutu's regime.
Killian Mabhena, Zimbabwe
Developed countries maintain political stability by pouring billions of US dollars into social welfare and health programs (look what happened when Hillary tried to tinker with health care in the USA).
The way malevolent dictators are dealt with today is by providing information to the people via the internet and direct radio broadcasts from satellites. The people will then look after themselves.
To Mugabe's credit, Zimbabwe does have one of the freest presses in Africa.
As I see it, Mugabe is using textbook rules to transform Zimbabwe into a real democracy (creating a civil society, allowing a free press, providing education, etc.).
Paul Peters, Namibia
I am very happy to see that Zimbabweans have decided it is time for a change. What I don't understand is the rhetoric that is coming out from countries like Britain. This same Britain turned a blind eye when Nigerian opposition leaders were been murdered in hundreds. They even refused to publicly condemn the military dictator who cancelled an election that was free and fair and also put the winner in jail where he eventually died. When is the double standard attitude going to stop? I hope the west realise that the youth of Africa are watching.
It's all good that there is balance of
power which MDC holds now, however
MDC should not use this as to hold-up land
reforms which the rural Zimbabwean
critically need. Transparent Land reforms
and sound economic policies to attract
foreign investors should be addressed
Since Mugabe came to power he has thought only of his own personal gains. The welfare of his people and country mean precious little to him.
How the world can sit and watch the destruction of a tyrant like this, is beyond me.
The one party state is dead! Long live democracy!
I predict that ZANU-PF will exist as a footnote in the history books of Zimbabwe, a generation from now.
Between the period of 1980 and 1989, everyone thought Mugabe's mother had wisdom in giving him the name Gabriel - an angels name. Now we all wonder why he wasn't named Lucifer, after the devil himself!
Terry McGinn, South Africa
Congratulations to MDC, but what does it change - nothing.
The whole EU should hit Zimbabwe where it hurts - in its pockets.
Essentially Mugabe is a tin pot dictator who thinks he can
intimidate whites to his own political gain. Unfortunately this
has back fired somewhat and I suspect if the true figure of voters
was revealed - including the 7% who mysteriously 'disappeared'
from the electoral role and were allowed a vote - we would have a different
picture. Any government that intimidates a minority should be forcibly removed
by the international community.
The recent elections in Zimbabwe should send a very clear message that Mugabe's iron fist rule will not be tolerated anymore.
Congratulations to the MDC, stand firm and continue the struggle.
Why is it that when our parents were being butchered during the election the international community did not intervene?
Why should the West recognise the more than tainted results
of this election. Zimbabwe doesn't have anything we need, and
the West has grown far too quick to recognise governments that
have no mandate. I think the true democratic countries
should stop treating ALL non-democratic governments as
His first and foremost role is to protect his country from the imperialist forces that have tried so vigorously tried to take over the country using the MDC. He should not accept or even plan to have these people in his cabinet for this will effectively mean having agents of the British government in his cabinet. God forbid. He is a man of struggle and he should continue with the struggle against the imperial forces.
I am so proud of my fellow Zimbabweans for seizing their power and exercising their rights to bring about change in Zimbabwe. It is clear, the people have spoken they are tired of the old way of doing business. They are tired of the empty promises and rhetoric of ZANU. ZANU has held on, BUT, by a narrow margin. It will no longer be business as usual. This is a new day!
I think it is imperative that the international community continues to pay attention and attempt to monitor the situation as best they can. We all know that the trouble is not over, nor likely to be until Mugabe is finally ousted.
I am hopeful that the election results will have a positive effect. The ZANU PF's slight majority forces them to compromise. The MDC's significant minority gives the fledgling party the opportunity to force good governance, rather than be corrupted by too much power too quickly.
The tactics used then are the same as employed today. Nothing has changed, the one party state will continue and the British will still moan if they are requested to provide more aid to support this independent and proud people. President Robert Mugabe should now take a hard look at those who were critical of his rule leading up to the election and act to ensure similar acts are not repeated.
I would like to congratulate this young party in its infancy for a good showing in the face of mounting intimidation. The masses must not lose heart with this, this is the beginning of an end an era.
The world should cry "foul!" at the way in which Zanu PF won their seats. Statistics will show that in the areas with the highest levels of intimidation, Mugabe won the most votes. For example, with a level of about 75% intimidation, the result was 83% support. Where there was no high level of intimidation, the opposition won 100%.
Now that Zimbabwe has had no effective executive changes, the economy will sink into further decay and leave many of us economic or political refugees.
Paul Ncube, Zimbabwe
The future could be more stable than most people think given that Mugabe has reared a reputation of unusual political astuteness. If he uses the opportunity to weed out dead wood, incorporate capable and intelligent individuals like Simba Makoni in his cabinet, reduce the size of the cabinet, offer a hand of reconciliation to MDC (unlikely though) and proceed with land distribution sensibly, he will have done himself and the country a great deal of service.
How the mighty have fallen. The best thing for Mugabe to do is to engage in serious dialogue with the opposition with the view of coming up with a coalition government. Any attempts to ignore this phenomenal success by the opposition will spell further disaster for him. It's time to swallow pride and come to terms with reality. The people of Zimbabwe have spoken and are still going to speak. Forward ever, backwards never.
While the MDC can be congratulated for performing exceptionally well under the circumstances, I am despondent that our economy will descend into even greater chaos. Mugabe will continue to ride roughshod over the basic human rights of Zimbabweans. My heart goes out to all those whose families were affected by the violence and who are now expected to live side by side with these thugs that have beaten, raped and tortured their husbands, wives, children and other relatives. I hope the world doesn't forget too soon about the immense suffering that all Zimbabweans have been and are going to be subject to.
The MDC now holds about one-third of parliamentary seats - enough to influence, and play an active part in government, which should lead to a better future for Zimbabwe. However, the gains by the MDC will have the negative effect of putting Mugabe under pressure from voters and from the new MPs. Mugabe has been shown not to act well under pressure in the past.
As expected by any intelligent Zimbabwean Mugabe has done it again! The West has played right into his hands.
Ken Beach, Germany
Zimbabwe must stop living in a state of paranoia with regard to the West, and start looking for shared goals and paths to economic co-operation, just like India is currently doing.
Mugabe is the wrong man to lead Zimbabwe, unless Zimbabwe wishes to remain internationally isolated.
Fantastic performance by the MDC. They could have won it if they
had shown respect for our war veterans and the urgent need for land.
Fantastic performance, nonetheless.
I hope in parliament they stand for Zimbabwe and will not be difficult unnecessarily.
Mugabe should correctly interpret the message from the results of the recent parliamentary elections and step down as leader of his party to enable the party to reform and identify with the new order of globalisation.
I think that Mugabe should either stand down or be made to stand down, he has bankrupted his country. He should take a hint and stop annoying everybody. Dishonest, pig headed dictators have no place in the 21st century. His country could achieve so much without him. He may have bullied and cheated to retain control of his people's country but justice comes to us all sooner or later.
We might condemn the intimidation and violence in the campaigning up to the election but we should take care to remember that this was/is also the case with politics in our own backyard i.e. Northern Ireland
Stop the rhetoric.
Your country is suffering - no jobs, no fuel, inflation, worthless currency, war.......how much more will they suffer - not because of the colonial powers and Tony Blair - but because of you policies. The Zimbabwean people need to re-build their country, but with a different person at the helm.
Stephen Burgess, Germany
Mugabe now has two years to show he can change his dictatorial ways before the next Presidential election. The people have spoken despite the intimidation. He can only ignore their views at his peril.
Robert Mugabe should do the honourable thing and resign, and give Zimbabwe back to the people, so it can be governed by their will, and not Robert's.
Jose Fernandez, Netherlands
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