Saturday, March 29, 2008

Zimbabweans line up early to vote in crucial elections

The one thing I do know about Zimbabwean affairs is the fact that the regime of Robert Mugabe attempted to redistribute land from productive white farmers and then gave this land to African farmers. While the idea was to right the injustices of European colonialism in Africa. The unfortunate side effect as it was understood was that this nation once had a food surplus has a food shortage.

I've also heard about electoral irregulaties. Robert Mugabe has been in power for the better part of 20 years and isn't ready to give it up. The last elections in Zimbabwe was ripe with charges of voter intimidation with Mugabe winning another term.

Now there's another election. Here's what the Sun-Times says...
Eager to vote, Zimbabweans began lining up before dawn Saturday for elections that present President Robert Mugabe with the toughest political challenge of his 28 years in power.

The opposition accuses Mugabe of plotting to steal the election and tensions rose Friday with soldiers and police in a convoy of armored personnel carriers with water cannons patrolling through downtown Harare, the capital. The security chiefs warned against violence and police presence at the polls Saturday was heavy.

The economic collapse of what was once the region's breadbasket has been a central campaign issue, with the opposition accusing Mugabe of misrule and dictatorship. Mugabe, appealing to national pride, blames the Westand charges his opponents are stooges of former colonial ruler Britain.

In southern Bulawayo, Moreblessing Ndlovu said he has chosen democracy over dictatorship. ''The people of Zimbabwe have had enough of this,'' he said, his bare feet reflecting his poverty.

''Everyone here is hungry. They want to see a change,'' Bulawayo said, pointing a snaking line of about 200 people waiting to vote. Some had gotten in line hours before the scheduled 7 a.m. opening.

Running against Mugabe are opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, 55, who narrowly lost the disputed 2002 elections, and former ruling party loyalist and finance minister Simba Makoni, 58. Makoni has shaken up Zimbabwe's politics with his appeal to disillusioned citizens, threatening to take votes from both the opposition and the ruling party.

All three candidates voted early Saturday, with Mugabe telling reporters afterward he would accept whatever results emerged and rejecting opposition charges he had already orchestrated his own victory.

''We are not in the habit of cheating,'' he said. ''We don't rig elections.''

Tsvangirai sounded a resolute note, saying: ''The people's victory is assured.''

Most stations opened after 7 a.m. and people complained the process was slow. But Noel Kututwa, head of the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network, said voting was going smoothly countrywide.
Wait the voting is today? Well let me go find an update right quick let's see how the election is turning. BTW, here's another piece by Pajamas Media about the Zimbabwean elections.

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