12 Aug 2013

Mugabe delivers attack on election rivals

International Editor

In typical feisty form, Robert Mugabe hits out at his rivals saying they should accept the result of the presidential election or “commit suicide” adding that “dogs will not sniff their carcasses”.

Robert Mugabe is on form after his ‘landslide’ victory in the presidential elections.

“Those that are depressed about losing the elections can go hang themselves if they wish,” he told a crowd at Heroes Acre, commemorating guerrilla fighters killed in the 1980s war for independence (see video). “Even dogs will not sniff their bodies, if they die.”

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T) is challenging the results of the poll that gave them only 35 per cent compared to Mugabe’s 61 per cent. But that doesn’t bother the old fox who knows he has outwitted his enemies again.

It is still the responsibility of the opposition to win the election, and to make sure that cheating is nipped in the bud – Ken Mufuka

Not that he sees the MDC and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai as enemies: just as stooges of the real enemies, Britain and the USA. The banners that greeted the president, carefully lettered, revealed his obsessions – not those of the Zimbabweans worried about healthcare, education and the cost of living.

“Obama, Zimbabwe will never be a second Chile,” read one, a reference to the US backing of General Pinochet over the democratically elected Communist, Salvador Allende, back in the early 1970s before most Zimbabweans were born.

“Britain plus her three dominions!” read another. (I’m not sure which those dominions are – can anyone help?) “May the uninvited shut up!”

Opposition weakness

Mugabe’s victory was not unexpected. The commentator Ken Mufuka, sees the opposition weakness as part of the problem: “We know that ZANU-PF was liable to cheat, and we can document that,” he writes. “But it is still the responsibility of the opposition to win the election, and to make sure that cheating is nipped in the bud. In the case of the MDC-T, the opposition was caught napping, a situation which was exacerbated by the gullibility of the leadership in the MDC-T.”

“The MDC has no Plan B,” a Zimbabwean friend told me. Mr Tsvangirai had apparently believed that the election would be a fair fight, and now feels betrayed.

The best case scenario is a fast collapse. The worst is another ten years of this – Zimbabwean voter

In the previous coalition government, the finance ministry was in the hands of the respected MDC economist Tendai Biti. He, backed by aid donors, managed to reverse Zimbabwe’s economic decline by paying civil servants, including teachers and health workers, US$100 a month. That programme may now be under threat.

While it undoubtedly helped Zimbabweans, it also left senior cadres from Mugabe’s ZANU-PF free to profit from diamond mining and other ventures. If the economy is left to drift now, Zimbabwe may return to the bad old days of hyper-inflation.

“The best case scenario is a fast collapse,” said a depressed Zimbabwean friend. “The worst is another ten years of this.”