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Monday, 21 February, 2000, 13:02 GMT
Are President Mugabe's days numbered?
One of the grand old men of African politics has for the first time tasted defeat at the polls.
Zimbabwe's President Mugabe lost a referendum seeking to change the constitution, which in reality became a popularity test for the ageing leader.
What does this mean for Zimbabwe? Will his party still win parliamentary elections due in April? Is it the beginning of the end for President Mugabe? Tell us what you think.
Bothwell Kaseke, Zimbabwe
For the good of his country, Mugabe ought to think about stepping aside before he is rudely removed. He truly belongs to the past, as is clear from his now antiquated ideas and policies that have ruined once a great country.
Miracles won't happen, but it's a step in the right direction. More worrying is the compliments Ian Smith seems to be getting. What's the point of being Africa's 'most prosperous country' if only a small few share the wealth? Ian Smith might be a good economist, but why did that stop him treating Blacks as human beings? Smith says Mugabe is corrupt. He is totally correct, but also hypocritical. If keeping all the land and cash for a VERY small white minority isn't corrupt, what is?
If Mugabe is so desperate for money
then maybe he should ask for help
from the present and former communist
eastern-block countries who funded
and supplied his terrorist activities to
help him into power in the first place.
He seems adamant that Britain owes
him money, has he forgotten what
UDI stood for?
Ashley, Australia (born in Zimbabwe)
It is high time that Bob is made to stand down and that way the country may make a positive up swing. As every one should know we've been on a down hill run ever since 1980 and getting steeper. The country has a lot to offer for all and in all aspects so we can only hope for a swing.
Its about time the people of the country realise what our dictator has done. Maybe with the future possibility of change the country and the people might be able to benefit from what there really is to offer in that country - that is before it is left to total ruin!
Frank Ouma-Okot obviously has no clue what happens in Zimbabwe - so in future your comments would be best kept to yourself! Zimbabweans have been brainwashed yes, but we've been brainwashed into believing that Mugabe and his government were committed to helping our country. I'm personally delighted that people are finally seeing through him and all his lies. I'm delighted that people are not blaming the less than 1% white population for all the country's problems (which Mugabe wants everyone to believe!) So carry on MDC - thank you for finally making a stand against this communist rule!
These guys never learn, do they?
Mugabe should retire gracefully and be the father of the nation like Nyerere. Though Nyerere was a failure in his Ujamma policy and caused the Tanzanian economy to virtually grind to a halt he understood and quit and was able to retain the reverence of a grateful nation and Africa.
Dear President, its time!
As a white Zimbabwean now living in the UK I can only hope that recent events point to a positive change in the politics of Southern Africa. It would seem that Zimbabwe has two options, epitomised by its neighbours. Develop the forward thinking attitude expressed in the South African solution or plunge into the misery that it Mozambique. Let us hope that if Mugabe goes - as he surely must - that there is someone able to take his place and begin the process of the reconstruction of this beautiful but scarred country.
Mai Takunda, UK
To the People of Zimbabwe:
Citizens, Young and old, Poor and the rich, we have been fooled by this government of Mugabe for too long. Mugabe and his cronies have stayed too long for any good, DEPART WE SAY.
This is a deserved lesson a lesson for the abusive and shameless dictator who has thrived by DIVING and "uniting" and DIVIDING and "uniting" Zimbabweans.
Everything has a lifespan Bob.
Kathy Ellison, England (originally from Zimbabwe)
To my fellow countrymen who took a brave step forward - I am proud! Proud to be a white Zimbabwean and have pride in the knowledge that Zimbabweans, black and white, can unite despite Mugabe's intent on making the racist problem worse.
Well finally the people of Zimbabwe are getting a voice in this ordeal. One thing that bothers me is the involvement from South Africa's President Mbeki. How can someone of such nature try to resolve Zimbabwe's problems, when his own government is creating a mess of South Africa i.e. the medical/education system.
Akello Grace, Uganda
Is this the curse of Africa? - The prevalence of tyrannical or autocratic leaders who can only be driven out in disgrace after they have destroyed or made worse the very institutions they were elected to uphold and preserve.
Chris Chisvo, Zimbabwe
The people of Zimbabwe have cast a vote. The new millennium brings hope. The world holds its collective breath; will justice prevail or will Zimbabwe, like so many countries suffer the indignation of bloodshed and poverty, due to the few privileged who insist that their voice of reason stands firm and not the minds of the strong and diligent people that make up this great house of stone.
A cornered animal is at it's most dangerous.
Mugabe is now not only fighting for his political life but he now realises that if he loses power, which must be very soon, the people of Zimbabwe will demand that the financial state of he, his relatives and ministers must be investigated.
Zimbabwe, once the Jewel of Africa, with one of the most industrious labour forces in the continent is a pauper and he and wife are able to shop at Harrods.
Tell me where does he get the money?
Frank Ouma-Okot, Canada
Mere words cannot explain how exciting it gets when I think of the departure of this African totalitarian who has encumbered the development of Zimbabwean people. His departure will be of an asset to Zimbabweans and other peoples of Africa. Good Job and good luck on your long way to victory. A battle for a cause is never tedious.
The turmoil that Zimbabwe is undergoing as it struggles to redefine itself have only just begun. Is the 'No' vote simply a ploy for credibility in the April elections? Will the embattled government reconstitute fair a constitution-making process? Are Zimbabweans prepared to take further action if things go sour, as they are not entirely unlikely to do? Congratulations are due, but the fight to save the country is in its infancy.
Neil, UK and USA
Zimbabwe, the land of my birth. Tears roll when I remember your beauty. But you have been bound for 20 years by a government that has betrayed its people. Zimbabwe will raise again. Now is the time for Zimbabweans to pray for a miracle. Zimbabwe will belong to its people again and the jewel of Africa will retain its glory.
There is hope! Congratulations, Zimbabwe. The first step down the long road of removing a tyrant has been taken. It will not be an easy road, but the Zimbabwean Spirit will triumph. Patience and perseverance will be needed.
Mugabe should stop being greedy and give a new generation of politicians a chance to try their own ideas. He should note that the longer he stays in power the greater his respect and contributions towards the emancipation of Zimbabwe diminishes.
So, Mr. president, preserve your dignity and hand over. Like the saying goes 'pride comes before the fall'. If after 19 years you have not finished achieving your aims, what is the likelihood that it will ever be achieved at all?
Ukauwa Kenneth, United States
At the beginning of the 21st century, surely despots and tyrants like Robert Mugabe should have no legitimate presence in politics. His presence as a corrupt statesman ensures that any economic revival remains a distant dream. Come on Zimbabwe - you have so much more to offer!
It's about time that the old guy should know that his days are numbered and that the Zimbabwean masses have finally awoken. They better walk the distance.
Well I refuse to be another casualty. I say let's all go out there and vote not just for our selves but for all those we love back home and for our unborn children, so that they may enter the world without the worries we have had to endure. I say to the old roaches in parliament "what goes around comes around". For real!
Well done Zimbabweans. This is the first step you have taken in getting rid of this monster, Mugabe. Come election time, lets all go and vote Zanu PF out. We can no longer watch and see our country go to the dogs. Enough is enough!!!!!!!!!!
Good good! The people of Zimbabwe have shown him his correct calendar. His days are indeed running out. Even his friend president Chiluba of Zambia Was sent rushing to lay a foundation stone for his departure upon receipt of news of Mugabe's defeat. We urge all Zambians and Namibians to learn from our brothers in Zimbabwe and so should the citizens of Kenya
Having lived in Zimbabwe till August 1999 and having seen what is happening to that beautiful country we can only hope that Bob's days are numbered, maybe then the people of Zimbabwe can look forward to the future, and not to their next meal.
A first for Africa. I hope the new winds of change are strong enough to re-establish old fashioned professional values in the public service and that the still to be resolved problems of the country, including the land question, can be resolved.
"The People Have Spoken"
I wish I could see him
and say: "You've come a long way, Mr President, just listen to the voice of reason."
Robert Mugabe, one of the outspoken critics of Nigeria's Abacha, the ruthless wanna-be patriot,
who took the wealth of his Nation for "political gamble".
Good work, Zim voters! You've taken the first small step. Now buckle down and begin the long process of ridding yourselves of this government. Maybe not this year, maybe not even in 2002, but eventually you will triumph. Now that you know your own strength, it's only a matter of time before the sun shines again.
Alex Booyse, UK
Zimbabwe - my home; I feel so sad every time Zimbabwe comes into a conversation. The damage has been done and it is now time for us to face up to reality and do something about the situation that Mugabe and his government have put us in as a nation. The only way to do this is to come together and stop using our race as an excuse. In the end we all want the same thing, a Zimbabwe where there are equal job opportunities and a stable environment for our children to grow up in. Otherwise what will a future in Zimbabwe hold for them. Remember always that change is good.
A ray of light for Zimbabweans.
An appropriate time to dethrone
this despotic tyrant. Come on guys
at least you have started somewhere.
It's time for a revolution. This ain't no
monarchy. Leadership will only become
true leadership when you pass it on to
a successor with brand new ideas.
If one fails to, then there is no other
option but to uproot and overthrow!
R. Whitehead, USA
Mugabe must surely go. Even God himself should not rule over 10 years in Africa. As someone who has visited Zimbabwe for several times during the last several years, I love the country and the people and their potential. But that potential has been stifled by Mugabe and his ruling party. I admire him for his courage in the fight for independence. However, as an Ethiopian I am very sad that he has allowed Mengistu, a virulent and brutal dictator
sanctuary in his country. In despite of it, however, Mugabe and his likes, the so-called elder statesmen have to go.
This vote signals the fight for the soul of a nation. There is hope on the horizons. I believe that Zimbabwe now faces a great challenge to rid the country of much of its evils. Ladies and Gentlemen, the sooner the better.
The vote by the Zimbabwean people brings about a new era. Hope is on the horizon. It is time that Zimbabwean people become the true guardians of their freedom. This is a win - win situation
Paul Burgess, Scotland
It is perhaps true that the first shot has been fired in a long and perhaps bloody regeneration of a once great country.
For those filled with optimism please prepare yourself for a period where things are sure to get worse before they get better.
Like a rat leaving a sinking ship Mugabe is sure to plunder what little remains of Zimbabwe's dwindling assets to secure for him a comfortable retirement. He still has 2 years in power and is unlikely to go quietly.
If anyone thinks this man will step down and ride peacefully into the sunset, then they are in for a big surprise. Power and money are not given up that easy.
Viva Zimbabwe! Viva democracy! One down two (Mugabe and Zanu) to go.
Africa needs some new and young leaders. It is ok if Mugabe is gone, why would anyone want to be on power forever? Wake up Africa...
Gabangaye Psimon KaNdlovu, RSA
The goal by Zimbabweans, unlike the foreigners is not to get rid of Mugabe, but rather to make Zimbabwe a better place for the majority. Mugabe will continue to be President for as long as the majority feels he is good for their cause. Zimbabweans elected Mugabe to be President until 2002. The rejected constitution would have forced an early presidential election. As it stands, we all have to wait until 2002, unless of course Mugabe himself decides to step down. Those who think Mugabe's days are numbered are looking at a very big number!
I hope that this is the beginning of change for my country. Mugabe has done nothing for our people except to make life even more difficult. It's time that Zanu (PF) was removed from power maybe as we begin a new millennium the nation might have hope of a better future. Anyone other than Mugabe and his fellow thieves is better.
Point of correction, Under the present constitution Mugabe's post is not up for grabs until the year 2002. He is still in power and will be choosing the next cabinet. Judging from the results if these were parliamentary seats then Zanu PF would have won. Just see how many constituencies voted yes. There is still a lot of work to be done by the opposition.
This is a great tribute to the people of Zimbabwe. This is a people who continue to endure unprecedented levels of state-sanctioned abuse. It's time for the dictator to go. Nevertheless, we are increasingly desperate for our land.
Those who believe Mugabe will be humiliated out of office are simply fooling themselves.
Mugabe will forever remain The Liberator in the eyes of long-suffering Black Zimbabweans. Zimbabweans, not foreigners and especially not Britain will ensure he is replaced when the right time comes. That time is not April 2000.
In Namibia, we are joyfully learned how
Zimbabwean brothers and sisters have given a correct "NO" vote.
We know that leaders in this country look to Mugabe as their idol and role model.
Without Mugabe come next April, we can only hope for a positive change here as well.
Jupiter Punungwe, Zimbabwe
Though I am not a Zimbabwean but
lived there for five years as a student
in the university and have been following
the politics of that country very
closely. In my view it is high time for
the opposition to unite and bring the
consensus candidates in the coming elections
which is very difficult and next to impossible
looking at the nature of the politicians of this
country. If they will not unite this is
the last victory for the opposition.
They should learn from the mistake of
opposition in Kenya.
Roy Chapman, UK / Germany
Minister Chitauro said Whites from South Africa came to vote but didn't Jonathan Moyo the Constitutional Commission's spokesman come from South Africa and has been a visiting professor from the Wits University for the past year. Congratulations all Zimbabweans who rejected the fake document. But we still want our land back.
I live for tomorrow not for yesterday. I know that things were bad in 1970 but that's past.. I felt so good when I went to the polling station.. Everyone was there, black, white... everyone voting and expressing there needs. Now let's work together because Zimbabwe has a lot of potential to grow┐ Stay positive
Samanyika from Mutare, Zimbabwean in the USA
I am a Zimbabwean currently based in the UK. I had thought there was no hope for my family back home and that things were spiralling downwards. However today my chest has swelled with pride in that Zimbabweans, black and white, can unite despite Mugabe's intent on making the racist problem worse! Well done my fellow Zimbabweans and roll on the elections!
This is a good time for the opposition to show us their Constitution and also tell us how they are going to govern. We know what is wrong with the present government so do not make blame your chorus. Blame is the last refuge of the defeated. In the meantime savour your victory.
Tapuwa Tavaziva, USA
I hope this is another signal to those inept, corrupt, and selfish African leaders that they can only fool the people for so long. Yes there are still (and will probably always remain) the insidious foreign influence in African countries), the point is they will always achieve success as long as leaders such as Mugabe remain in power. Africa needs leaders with her best interest in mind, not those of others or themselves.
If the people lead, the leaders will follow!
Well, I wish to congratulate my fellow Zimbabweans for having succeeded in
liberating themselves from the well planned misrule of Mugabe and his old and
corrupt chosen few. Mugabe is very intelligent but he has failed to lead the
people of Zimbabwe and for that its time for him to go. Mugabe
does not listen to anyone, he is one track-minded, that is not what democracy
is all about.
Mustapha Karkouti, UK
Mr Mugabe is a pathetic leader, corrupted through and through. As they say, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. He should be held responsible for the state the country is in.
The fact that we have rejected the doctored constitution draft should not be read as a NO to land distribution. We are simply saying no to dictatorship and corrupt governments that have no respect for human rights and what their citizens think. I salute the people who have made a choice and I salute and hope that the Zimbabwean government will respect that.
President Mugabe never has been a
democrat. He was good chums with
the Soviet Union, ruthless in getting
rid of his political enemies and has
shown himself to be a racist towards
Africans white and black. I think
President Mugabe┤s departure will
herald better times for Zimbabwe.
And please, let us not remember him
as a "grand old man", or we could
as well include Idi Amin Dada to that
category. One renegade Marxist
less in Africa, hooray!
This is indeed the first round in getting rid of Mugabe. Second round in April to oust Zanu PF. Zimbabwe has finally woke up from its political apathy !
Hooray for Zimbabwe
Congratulations to Zimbabwe. This result and the whole setting means that Africa is getting more and more democratic.
Now is the time for the people of Zimbabwe to bring in a president and a government that they and the country deserve.
James Eaton, USA
To Peter Kohler, some of the problems of Africa can be attributed to the role the colonialists played. Mind you look at the mess in Rwnada, Burundi and look what your country did by supporting UNITA. Anyway, I am happy Bob lost the vote and it is a sign that his days are numbered. Start looking for a place to run." Nguva yako yasvika". In Shona it means that your time is up.
By and large nations get the leaders they deserve, and Zimbabwe is no different. An apathetic electorate, easily intimidated, has over two decades spawned a slovenly and ultimately bankrupt government. Today, however, Zimbabweans finally and collectively stood up and said "enough". Let us hope they now get the leadership and vision their courage deserves.
The man has done his job for the country but his time is now over. He should retire and leave the running of the nation to younger people.
Solomon Tatah, Switzerland
The "NO" vote is a victory for all Zimbabweans, even the poor ones out in the rural areas who ignorantly voted "no." They are no doubt driven by the promise of land, but they fail to see that it is just a way for Mugabe to buy their vote and entrench himself in power. I agree it's time stop pointing fingers at white people and address the leadership's own shortcomings.
The Beginning of the finale. The first nail has been hammered on Mugabe and his regime's coffin, it's time to pay our last respects. An enemy of an enemy is a friend and your government have been an enemy to us Zimbabweans and our friends abroad.
Farewell to the constitution and thanks for nothing for the 4000 commissioners.
Vittorio Silvestri, Eritrea
Mugabe's days are numbered its high time he goes, the winds of change are sweeping through the land.
One of Mugabe's strongest campaigning strategies in the past has been the withdrawal of people's memories to the liberation struggle and what role his party played. As the civil war moves further back in history so does his power.
The government's remarks during the referendum, Cde F. Chitauro, " We suspect that these whites are ex-Rhodesians who have come back to make point," is tantamount to racism. Is it not the Government that called on all Zimbabweans to vote?
I just want to end up by congratulating my fellow Zimbabweans who voted no, and to those who voted yes, I want say to you, "See the light before it's too late. Let us unite during the elections and get rid of Mugabe and his cronies".
HHHHHHooooooooRRRRRRaaaaaaYYYYY. It seemed inevitable that that corrupt, tinpot dictator would have his say once more. But the people of Zimbabwe have once again shown their will. It takes a lot to make Zimbabweans seek change, but when they do, the force is overwhelming. Down with arrogant megalomaniacs, we are better off without you Bob.
Are the days of one of Africa's last, pathetic Marxist-Leninists numbered? One can only hope so. Maybe, just maybe, Africans will start holding their own leaders accountable for the dismal conditions they have wrought themselves without predictably blaming it on the evil White Man. Africa has been in charge of its own destiny for too long to continue the blame game.
How can people take him seriously as a president, when he wins the
state run lottery?
President Mugabe will do well to remember that "pride goes before a fall".
He and his cohorts were supremely confident of victory, forgetting that
power flows from the people. His latest attempt to betray the trust
endowed on him in 1980 was summarily rejected by a landslide. President
Mugabe, remember Pinochet, remember Babangida, remember that no
condition is permanent. Your days in power are numbered.
15 Feb 00 | Africa
15 Feb 00 | Africa
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