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Violence Plays no Role in a Democracy

May 26, 2008, 7:16 AM

It seems that true to form, President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party intend to stop at nothing to cling to power. Earlier this month US ambassador James McGee warned that post-election violence in Zimbabwe was "spinning out of control". As a result Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has threatened to expel the US ambassador, accusing him of meddling in the country's political process. "I am just waiting to see if he makes one more step wrong. He will get out," Mr Mugabe told a rally in Harare. Reports from inside Zimbabwe reveal that indeed violence does seem to be "spinning out of control". Earlier this month, Mr McGee told the BBC he had found evidence of "politically-inspired" violence against hundreds of people in Zimbabwe. The diplomat warned the situation would make it impossible for the second vote to be fair.

"As long as he carries on doing that, I will kick him out of the country," Mugabe said of Mr McGee, a Vietnam War veteran. Recently the mutilated body of Tonderai Ndira was found. He was the 43rd Zimbabwean opposition activist to die in violence since elections in March. He was abducted by 10 men armed with revolvers and AK-47s - some of them wore masks. With this kind or terror tactic abounding in the country, it is hardly surprising that the opposition now feels that many of its supporters will simply be too frightened to vote freely in the re-run of the election.

Morgan Tsvangirai's statement that he will take part in the presidential run-off is hardly surprising. Mr Tsvangirai told a news conference in Pretoria, South Africa that if he decided not to take part, his supporters would have felt "betrayed". "I am ready and the people are ready for the final round," he said. In reality many in his own party feel he could pay for his decision with his life as so many of the party faithful have. It is increasingly clear that violence and oppression have replaced democracy in Zimbabwe. What is worse, the issues of people's hunger, unemployment and poverty seem almost to have been pushed off the radar in the election campaign. The race is fast becoming a race between the cults of two personalities. The ordinary people of Zimbabwe are suffering but their suffering is not receiving the international attention it should because of the focus on political violence and skulduggery. The people of Zimbabwe deserve better. They deserve political leadership which will work for them and the improvement of their lives. They do not deserve violence, suffering and misery on the scale they are currently experiencing it.

"Force, and fraud, are in war the two cardinal virtues."

Thomas Hobbes