Thursday, May 08, 2008

Zimbabwe update

The level of violence against Zimbabweans suspected of supporting the MDC, the party that won the March 29 elections, has soared. Hundreds of people have had to seek medical attention after being beaten, cut, and worse.

The full results of the election have still not been released, and there is no word on when the supposed runoff election between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, the MDC candidate, will take place. Or even if the MDC will take part, given the horrific level of violence and obvious rigging of results by the electoral commission, and the lack of any proposals by other governments so far to help assure conditions for a legitimate vote.

In this context, I felt somewhat awkward about focusing an update to my previous post on the Chinese ship carrying weapons intended for the Mugabe forces, which is now sitting just outside the port of Luanda, Angola. A blogger at This is Zimbabwe relieved that concern by explaining why the ship is a focal point in this crisis:
Nothing is conclusive at this stage, but there are three reasons why this story is important, even if, as we write, more weapons are possibly coming in invisibly via other routes:

1. The need to prevent weapons coming in to Zimbabwe is critical: politically motivated and politically directed murders are increasing in Zimbabwe.
2. As cynical as this may sound, the story galvanises people in a way stories of battered and tortured people cannot; most likely because this is something that people feel they can try and help with and becaiuse they directly associate this ship with those victims.
3. For me personally, the story is important because it is also forcing countries in the region to ‘nail their colours to the mast’, so to speak. In the open glare of the public eye, this story shows us which nations are concerned for the safety of the Zimbabwean people, and which ones are more concerned with the loyalty to the Zanu PF regime.

African nations surrounding Zimbabwe are the powers with the most realistic chance to intervene in a way that can allow the democratic process to proceed. Please appeal to them to do so.

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