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The People Have Spoken, So Listen to Them

Apr 7, 2008, 8:55 AM

The clock is ticking for Robert Mugabe. The recent elections have seen his Zanu-PF party lose control of the parliament and a dark cloud hangs over the presidency. Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has taken 94 of the 207 contested seats, while opposition parties have won 105. One seat has gone to an independent. Unfortunately for democracy the Zimbabwe Election Commission has yet to announce the results of the presidential election and this is fueling suspicion and rumour in the country. Anyone examining Robert Mugabe's body language will clearly see that he is defeated. His shoulders are low and he is showing none of the vitality that previously singled him out as a great freedom fighter and champion of his people. The Government run Herald newspaper has announced that there must be a run off in relation to the presidential race and here again we must ask what is going on behind the scenes? Of course it is in the Presidents interests to have a second round of voting if he has in fact lost the election. If President Robert Mugabe had indeed won the popular vote then it is hard to believe that there would have been any delay in the release of the results.

The opposition must now be very careful and ensure that they put the good of the people of Zimbabwe before their own desire to wrestle power from Zanu-PF. Tensions are running high in the country and a repeat of what we saw in Kenya must be avoided at all costs.

MDC Party Secretary General Tendai Biti has said Mr Morgan Tsvangirai had won 50.3% of the vote to President Robert Mugabe's 43.8%, so avoiding a run-off. The ruling Zanu-PF party has dismissed the MDC claim as "wishful thinking".

Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga said it was irresponsible and could incite violence.

In his news conference, Mr Biti said there was "anxiety and disappointment" at the failure of the Zimbabwe Election Commission to declare presidential results.This had produced a vacuum, he said, giving room for all sorts of rumours. These rumours may be exploited by those who do not have the best interests of the nation at heart.

The time has now come for Robert Mugabe to show his true colours. The results, whatever they may be, must be adhered to. He must prove himself to be a statesman and a democrat and bow to the will of his people. There is no doubting the enormous achievements of Robert Mugabe in the past. The plight of his people in recent times has led many to believe he was no longer fit to lead and now it appears that the people of Zimbabwe are in this camp. We have written many times in these pages about the fact that leaders should not cling to power. Clinging to power shows selfishness on the part of a leader rather than the selflessness that should characterise are great leader. There must be an announcement and transparency in relation to this contest so that the people of Zimbabwe can begin to rebuild their economy and their lives.