Saturday, March 15, 2008

Zimbabwe gets to vote again

On March 29th Zimbabwe will hold its presidential elections. For the first time in years it seems like the current president Robert Mugabe, who has been holding his position since the independence of Zimbabwe in 1980, has very strong competitors. The last time Mugabe had to face a major political challenge was in the 2002 elections the opposition party Movement to Democratic Change. With a very low voter turnout, Mugabe won with a 56% lead. The following elections in 2005 caused major concerns in the US and Europe since the elections where flawed and many voter had been turned away and didn't get to vote because their names weren't on the electoral vote anymore. Instead there were almost 5.8 million "ghost voters" (people who had died already but still remained on the electoral roll), which caused confusion and accusations of western countries and the UN of a flawed and unfair election. Mugabe denied this.

Now in the upcoming elections, it seems like the citizens of Zimbabwe have finally had it (after a 100,500% inflation under the current administration) and the opposition is leading strong in the pre-election polls. Now they just have to get the chance to vote.

The article Economist: Only new Leadership can revive Zimbabwe's collapsed economy suggests that under a next term of Mugabe, Zimbabwe is only going to deteriorate more and more. If also says that it is essential that Zimbabwe gets treated as a disaster zone that needs foreign help. Although the US and Europe reacted to the last elections in 2005 and another one in 1990, Zimbabwe's flawed elections never got the same attention like Kenya's election got it this year, for example. Although many people, mainly white farmers, have been killed in Zimbabwe it seem like it hasn't been enough to get the worlds attention. Zimbabwe and Mugabe's administration stays isolated.

Zimbabwe has suffered long enough under Mugabe and Zimbabweans deserve a fair election and withit somebody who can clean up the mess after 28 years of Mugabe.

No comments: