Monday, June 30, 2008
Robert Mugabe wins in sham election
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was on Sunday declared winner of a widely condemned election which African observers said was scarred by violence and intimidation. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said Mugabe had won Friday's vote, in which he was the only candidate.
84 year old Mugabe has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, was due to be sworn in shortly in a ceremony at State House, officials said.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who withdrew from last Friday's election a week ago, saying nearly 90 of his supporters had been killed by government-backed militias, dismissed the inauguration as meaningless. Tsvangirai had previously won an election back in March, but Mugabe's supporters refused to admit defeat and bullied their way into recounts and a second election. Blatant intimidation and murder of Tsvangirai's supporters has since caused Tsvangirai to go into hiding and flee for his life.
With the opposition powerless to stop widespread corruption and violence and Mugabe unwilling to even talk about releasing his ironfisted controll over Zimbabwe the only solution remaining is foreign intervention.
Part of the problem is that Zimbabwe's HIV/AIDS epidemic is out of control and had reached 24.6% of the population by 2001. It could be as high as 30 or 40% by now. With an overall population of 12.3 million people that is a lot of people infected and a military intervention will have to be concerned with how to deal with so many AIDS patients.
In the meantime the economy in Zimbabwe has slipped badly. The unemployment rate was 80% in 2005 and the per capita GDP was $200. Back in 2003 the Zimbabwe dollar 82% of an American dollar but the exchange rate has since plummeted to 30,000 per one American dollar (which is to say Zimbabwean money is now worth less than toilet paper).
Their oil imports are relatively low so it would be comparably easy to set up a trade blockade with the country to prevent oil and gasoline products from going in (which would eventually cripple Zimbabwe's military power). Zimbabwe's military is already crippled by AIDS, poor funding and are basically pro-Mugabe street thugs drunk on power.
Its difficult to tell everything that is going on within Zimbabwe as very few reporters are allowed into the country and the reports coming out suggest that violence and rape is a regular occurrence. In a country that had such a large percentage of AIDS it does raise the question of whether the Zimbabwe army is accidentally or deliberately spreading AIDS amongst the populace.
Or is it the reverse? Could they be trying to exterminate AIDS through violence? Robert Mugabe's intentions are not clear.
It is becoming ridiculously obvious that a military intervention is needed and the only question is what countries will be willing to step up to the plate to prevent a complete catastrophe.
The United States is already mired down in two wars in the Iraq and Afghanistan, and the possibility of a third war with Iran is still possible. We won't be expecting any help from the USA, but other countries like Canada and members of the European Union could certainly help if someone would simply take the initiative.
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