Zimbabwe holds its legislative and first-round presidential elections today. The election is almost certainly rigged. If the documents obtained by the Mail (see story, 31 July) are authentic, dictator Robert Mugabe’s strategy this time has been to make it difficult for Movement for Democratic Change voters to cast ballots in the first place, while padding his own ZANU-PF party’s rolls with dead and exiled “voters”. This strategy is contrast to 2008, when MDC leader Morgan Tsvangarai may actually have trounced Mugabe, but the response from the latter was to unleash the goons. While Mugabe conceded he had not won in the first round, Tsvangarai withdrew from the runoff, citing the violence against his party members.
Still, surprises can occur. Moreover, if the documents the Mail received are genuine, the fact that someone leaked them might imply high-level dissent with the attempt to prolong the age-89 dictator’s rule.
Mugabe and Tsvangarai have been in a mostly dysfunctional “unity” government arrangement since shortly after the 2008 disputed elections.