3/20/2005

Bogus elections in Zimbabwe

From the Independent (UK):
In a decision that has cast a further shadow over Zimbabwe's upcoming elections, the country's Supreme Court has upheld a government move to ban at least 3.5 million Zimbabweans resident abroad from voting in the 31 March poll. The ruling has dismayed opponents of President Robert Mugabe, who had hoped that the expatriate population based mainly in the United Kingdom and South Africa, would overwhelmingly vote against Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

And from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
The government of President Robert Mugabe has hand-picked observers for Zimbabwe's upcoming parliamentary vote in what critics call a shallow and transparent attempt to restore legitimacy to the country's discredited democracy. It has systematically barred observer missions from countries and groups that said elections in 2000 and 2002 were flawed and probably stolen by Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party amid massive vote-rigging and state-sponsored violence and intimidation.
Observers for the March 31 elections have been invited from generally pro-Mugabe African states such as South Africa, friendly countries such as China, Iran and Venezuela, and from the Southern African Development Community, a generally supportive regional body. Those excluded include the European Union, the United States, the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa, the South African Council of Churches and the SADC Parliamentary Forum - the only African mission to condemn the 2002 presidential elections. Former President Jimmy Carter, whose Atlanta-based Carter Center monitors elections around the world, told reporters during Mozambique's polls in December that the center could not observe votes in Zimbabwe. "Zimbabwe is a disgrace," said Carter, referring to the country's electoral system. "Mugabe declared that the Carter Center is a terrorist organization and asked us to leave."

As John at AmericaBlog says, "If only they had oil..."

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