Basildon Peta: No, Tsvangirai was not right to pull out

Mugabe could not have won even a rigged election

Share
Related Topics

Of all the victims of Robert Mugabe's reign of terror I had spoken to recently, none told me that the vile dictator had brutalised them into loving him or voting for him. Mr Mugabe had, in fact, done a lot to campaign for Morgan Tsvangirai. An elderly woman whose nephew was murdered by Mr Mugabe's thugs two weeks ago told me she was determined to support the opposition in his honour.

It might sound a bit naive. But Mr Mugabe could not have won even a rigged election. The economy has worsened since the last election on 29 March which emboldened them. It proved Mr Mugabe could be beaten.

Even when opposition officials began acknowledging the growing sentiment in the party to pull out, I had never thought it would happen. "We will contest even if we are killed in the polling booths," one of the officials had told me. I thought that was right.

I am aware of the thousands of rural displaced and disenfranchised people. But that figure would have been swallowed into the MDC's strong urban support base. Polling day was going to further amplify Mr Mugabe's chicanery. I am told that, in some areas, polling booths were going to be located on properties handed to the so-called war veterans. Images of opposition supporters and even election observers being beaten at these places would have travelled the globe.

If Mr Tsvangirai's certain victory was going to be blocked by the crude tactics we have seen, Mr Mugabe would have emerged from the 27 June run-off more illegitimate. And if he had made good his threat to declare war after losing the vote, I believe that would have hastened his demise.

Mr Tsvangirai's reasons are not necessarily invalid but whatever the outcome of the run-off, I believe Mr Mugabe would have come off worse. The question now is what next? I hope it won't be another long round of Thabo Mbeki's timid mediation while Zimbabwe continues burning. The MDC must now do what it should do to rid Zimbabwe of this shameless criminal. The opposition party knows what that is, though I can't print it here.

The author is a Zimbabwean living in exile and is The Independent's southern Africa correspondent

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

British economy: Government hails the latest GDP figures, but there is still room for skepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Comedy queen: Miranda Hart has said that she is excited about working on the new film  

There is no such thing as a middle-class laugh

David Lister
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little