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Zimbabwe faces problems related to election run-offs

Ever since the last polls, the result of which is disputed, Zimbabwe is refusing to settle down. On one side is the ruling party of President Robert Mugabe, who claims that he won the polls, and has all the forces of power on his side. On the other side is the biggest challenger that Mugabe has ever seen, with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its Presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai claiming that he won the last polls, and that Mugabe has been manipulating things to be in his favor.
It’s very difficult to call this a case of sour grapes by a defeated opposition leader. Mugabe has been known to utilize all the instruments of the state in his favor, including the use of pressure and violence. In addition, Mugabe is hardly an asset to his country, with the country stagnating economically, stricken by violence, many of its residents having become refugees after fleeing the violence. And now, the Government seems to be applying more pressure on the opposition party so that it faces bleaker prospects of winning in the run-offs that are planned for next week (the week of 23rd June):

Zimbabwe’s opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, is discussing pulling out of next week’s presidential runoff, a source close to the MDC leadership told CNN. The MDC has blamed Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party supporters for beatings, kidnappings, arrests, and the deaths of more than 70 people since the March 29 election. MDC candidate Morgan Tsvangirai has complained of harassment after being detained several times in recent weeks, and MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti appeared in court Friday on charges including treason, which carries the death penalty.
Under land redistribution policies he started in 2000, Mugabe seized white-owned farms and gave the land to black Zimbabweans, saying they were cheated under colonial rule. The number of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe, once in the thousands, has since dwindled to about 400. Most of the redistributed land has not been harvested, and many analysts blame Zimbabwe’s economic collapse — including staggering inflation and unemployment — on the farm seizures.

The chief weapon that Mugabe wields is the threat of arrest or violence, and he will easily use these weapons as is suitable for him. Pressure from the international community (not from South Africa unfortunately) has been unable to sway his actions. What is true is that if the MDC does not take part in the elections after alleging force, then the elections will have a severe loss of credibility, and may not even be acknowledged as valid elections.

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