South Africa

Shadow over free and fair Zimbabwe polls

Prize for Ominous Quote of the Week goes to Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Casting his ballot in the country’s election yesterday, he said: “If I think I’m not going to take it, then I will be foolish.”

Ruthless, cunning – yes. Foolish? Not if you’ve managed to keep your place beside the Zanu-PF trough for all these years, comrade. That’s why, we have to say sadly, that we have little faith in the yesterday’s voting being completely free and fair.

WATCH: ‘We’re not a province of South Africa’ – Zanu-PF spokesperson takes aim at critics

The ruling party has been intimidating the opposition, Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC), since its formation and yesterday there were credible reports of questionable events – like polling stations not getting ballot boxes, people being locked out of voting stations and Zanu-PF illegally deploying “vote audits” close to where voting took place.

Backed by considerable money, Zanu-PF has run a massive campaign, which included dishing out T-shirts and households good to impoverished families.

The government has also deported foreigners who wanted to observe the elections, reduced internet access and, as we know, tightly controls the state media.

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Mnangagwa and his henchmen will probably be elected to continuing running – or, more correctly, running down – their country. Another example of African democracy being strangled to death?