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January 2008

Thursday, 31 January 2008

MDC unite to fight!

Far from splintering or boycotting the new elections, the opposition are joining hands to challenge Mugabe

Expect an announcement from Zimbabwe's much-maligned Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) tomorrow, Friday, when leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his aides return from consultations in South Africa. I can predict that Movement will not after all boycott the forthcoming combined elections at the end of March. Instead it will unite to go all-out for victory.

It had been expected by many observers that Mugabe's decision to abandon conciliation talks with South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, and go for a snap election in four weeks' time, would lead to an opposition boycott. The time-scale and the failure of the talks had, it was thought, tilted the playing field to an impossibly steep angle. At the least it was thought that the two wings of the MDC would go their separate ways.

Instead I can exclusively reveal that differences have been buried, and that the united MDC will campaign under the leadership of Tsvangirai, with Arthur Mutambara, leader of the other wing of the movement, also taking a prominent role. .

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Sunday, 27 January 2008

Why Mugabe will win

Rigging an election is a complicated procedure - but Zanu-PF are the experts

Mugabe's announcement that the joint elections will take place on March 29 may have filled some of us with renewed hope. Innocent souls may have asked themselves: is this a chance to finally rid the country of the crabby old dictator? The answer is, of course, no it isn't.

The truth is, this election is already rigged - and rigged more thoroughly than any of its predecessors. By using its security forces, its money, and its unquenchable desire for power, Zanu-PF will sail to victory in four week's time, and there's nothing we can do to stop it.

Government plans are already in place, which, as well as the usual brutality, threats and punishment, will employ a variety of subtler methods which will ensure nothing goes wrong. These, according to my usually reliable sources, are some of the details:

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Saturday, 26 January 2008

Elections just two months away

Zimbabweans will go to the polls on Saturday, March 29 - a decision that ends all hopes of success for the mediation talks.

President Mugabe has finally turned his back on the negotiations, hosted by President Thabo Mbeki, with the opposition MDC, and announced that the joint parliamentary and presidential elections will take place as early as March 29.

The MDC has been looking for guarantees that the elections this year would be substantially fair. Mugabe's decision to go to the country is seen by observers as a guarantee that the reverse will be true.

The proclamation of the elections, which also formally disolves parliament from midnight on March 28, was published by the state printer in Harare, though at the time of writing it has not been mentioned by our state broadcaster. Assuming that it is not in some way rescinded, it means that prospective candidates will have to move fast.

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