TELOSscope: The Telos Press Blog

Zimbabwe Elections and Violence

The character of repression in Zimbabwe has already been widely discussed, including here, here, and here. The long postponement of the run-off election (the original version of which, by any reasonable estimation, Mugabe lost despite enormous efforts at manipulation) has been designed to allow for more meddling. How extensive must the repression become in order to guarantee security for the dictator? Infinite security may require unlimited repression. How much time, how much force does ZANU-PF need to thwart the popular will?

And not only the popular will: Mugabe’s supporters are now turning their violence against representatives of the international community concerned with the systematic attacks on democracy, as reported here. Zimbabwean police and members of the pro-Mugabe war veterans group stopped a convoy with American and British diplomats, slashed the tires of the vehicles, and beat a US embassy employee. US Ambassador James McGee commented: “Zimbabwe has become a lawless country. The government is trying to intimidate its own people into voting what they consider the correct way, and now what they’re trying to do is intimidate diplomats from traveling into the countryside.”

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