April 26, 2008

Undermining Democracy In Zimbabwe

Can't win the election? Arrest your opponents and the independent vote monitors!

Truckloads of heavily armed police officers rounded up hundreds of people at the headquarters of Zimbabwe’s opposition party on Friday as plainclothes investigators descended on independent monitors of the nation’s disputed elections last month, according to opposition officials, witnesses and the police.

Friday’s raid on the opposition’s nerve center and the election monitors signaled a sharp and very public escalation of the country’s deepening and increasingly violent political crisis, one that has been concentrated to date in far less visible rural areas.

Both raids began around 11 a.m. in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. Harvest House, the rundown, six-story headquarters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was still cordoned off by the police at midafternoon. Computers and documents were seized.

The opposition’s offices had become an informal refugee camp for party supporters, some visibly wounded, who had fled what human rights groups describe as political repression in the countryside. Witnesses said they had watched as the police herded more than 200 of these bedraggled people, including pregnant women and children, onto buses.

At the same time, a smaller contingent of police investigators raided the offices of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, an alliance of civic groups that enraged the government by analyzing polling data and projecting that the opposition had won the March 29 election, perhaps by enough to avoid a runoff in the race for president. Its findings were cited Thursday by the top American diplomat for Africa as the best evidence that the opposition was the clear victor.

What is really most shocking to me is that there is such silence here in this country about the goings on in Zimbabwe.

Celebrities rightly protest the actions of China in Tibet, but can't spare a word for the people of Zimbabwe. We have a candidate for president who says he is all about change who is unable to find a word to say about the suppression of the desire for change in another country expressed by its people at the ballot box. We have a news media that has done a pretty weak job of reporting on the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe.

Personally, I think what we are seeing here is the same thing that we have seen for years in the treatment of Darfur -- benign neglect. And interestingly enough, I think the cause is the same -- Africa, especially black Africa, is simply not a priority for the elite in America.

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Zimbabwe stopped being a concern for the trendy when it stopped being Rhodesia.

|| Posted by Fox2!, April 26, 2008 03:15 PM ||

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|| Posted by emwugvfygp, October 20, 2008 11:44 AM ||
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