The Time Is Long Overdue for the World to Recognize the Fact That Zimbabwe's Rogue President, After 28 Years in Power, Is Not Just Another Thug Dictator: He's Also a Racist Who Hates White People and Anyone Else -- Even Fellow Africans -- He Thinks Acts as Their 'Puppets'
(Updated 3:00 p.m. EDT Tuesday, July 1, 2008)
By Skeeter Sanders
Zimbabwe's rogue president, Robert Mugabe, has finally exposed himself as being what many in the West and even in the rest of Africa have feared the worst about him. Not only is he a power-hungry dictator determined to stay in power at any cost, but he's also a blatant racist -- every bit as contemptuous of white people as the former apartheid regime in South Africa was of blacks.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, came out of the dictator's closet on Sunday when -- true to his vow that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would never govern in his lifetime -- he was sworn in for a sixth term as president, two days after a one-man runoff election denounced by African observers and much of the world as a sham caused by violence and intimidation by his ruling party against his opponents.
The rapidly-convened ceremony was staged barely an hour after the country's electoral commission declared he won a total of 2,150,269 votes against 233,000 for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who boycotted the runoff but whose name still appeared on ballot papers.
Turnout was announced at 42.37 percent -- a steep plunge from the more than 78 percent turnout in the March 29 general election that saw Tsvangirai's MDC take control of the Zimbawean parliament from Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and Tsvangirai coming out on top in the presidential vote over Mugabe, but failing to avoid a runoff.
More than 131,400 ballot papers were rejected in the highly controversial runoff, giving Mugabe more than 85 percent of the votes cast.
Calls By African Union for Unity Government Fall on Deaf Ears
The results were flatly rejected as illegitimate by observers from the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), who, in an uncharacteristically sharp rebuke, said the election "did not represent the will of the people."
"The pre-election phase was characterized by politically-motivated violence, intimidation and displacements," Angolan Sports Minister Jose Marcos Barrica, the head of the 400-strong team of observers, said in a statement.
It is indeed noteworthy that not a single African head of state attended Mugabe's swearing-in ceremony, in sharp contrast to his previous election victories. Mugabe -- who later flew to Egypt to attend an African Union summit in the Red Sea port of Sharm al-Sheik -- could for the first time face a cool, if not hostile, reception from other African leaders.
At the end of their two-day summit -- which saw strong criticism of Mugabe by Botswana -- African Union leaders late Tuesday passed a resolution calling for a government of national unity and encouraged both sides to live up to pledges to start dialogue to promote stability.
But the resolution was immediately rejected by both the Mugabe regime and the opposition MDC.
Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, said Zimbabwe would not follow Kenya's example and create a unity government. "We have our own history of evolving dialogue and resolving political impasses the Zimbabwean way. The Zimbabwean way, not the Kenyan way," he told reporters.
Meanwhile the MDC said Friday's one-man election had killed off any prospect of a negotiated settlement. Tendai Biti, the MDC's secretary-general who faces treason charges in Zimbabwe, said in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, that the country's "sham election" last week "totally and completely exterminated any prospect of a negotiated settlement."
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I'm a native of New York City who's called the Green Mountain state of Vermont home since the summer of 1994. A former freelance journalist, I'm a fiercely independent freethinker who's highly skeptical of authority figures -- especially when (more...